Reaver Beach Brewing1 is a relatively new brewery to the craft beer scene. It was founded in 2010 in Virginia Beach, Va. by newlyweds Justin and Kristin McDonald.
Beer production started on a very small scale, brewing only 12 gallons at a time. A used five barrel brewhouse was purchased from a small brewery in New Hampshire sat unused, while waiting for a natural gas line to be dug to the building. Once fuel was introduced to the 155 gallon system, production increased and ran at a steady pace from 2010-2013. Struggling to keep up with demand for its beer, at the end of 2013, construction began on a new facility, and in January of 2014, the first batches of beer were brewed on a new 15 barrel brewhouse into shiny, new 30 barrel fermenters. In February 2014, the doors officially opened at their new facility and taproom.
Hoptopus was originally developed as a seasonal beer in early 2011.
“We’d just planned on making a couple batches of it every spring,” said Justin McDonald, “but it was immediately one of our most popular beers.”
The brewery continued to increase production of Hoptopus and it is now its best-selling beer. In April 2014, Reaver Beach began canning the beer,2 which allowed the beer to reach a broader market. Hoptopus is a play on Octopus. An octopus has eight legs and this beer has an 8.8 percent ABV and 108 IBU’s
Poured from a 16-ounce can, less than 30-days-old, the first things that you notice are the amazing golden-orange sunshine color and the three fingers of frothy, white head and amazingly clingy lacing that holds to all sides of the glass. The aroma is very complex and full of fresh grapefruit and grapefruit rind, fresh squeezed orange juice, piney hops and a light sweet caramel background.
The taste of this beer mirrors the aroma, with lots of grapefruit, overripe citrus, citrus rind, hop bitterness and that ever present background of sticky caramel and the mouthfeel is quite balanced, allowing the tingly feel of the citrus and the sweet, coating feeling of the caramel and malts. All of the flavors and essences are bold and all seem to fight for the top to become predominant. Carbonation is medium and the balance is excellent.
As Hoptopus warms, the citrus and hop bitterness tends to mellow out and the sweet malt and caramel start to come forward, but still allowing the beer to hold its fine balance and body.