We’ve all been through a tumultuous relationship at some point in our lives; one that seems like a great idea, full of some fun times, but ultimately leaves you feeling as though you are missing something, bored, or just feeling downtrodden.  For seasoned beer geeks, this describes their relationship with IPAs. Oh, they were that beer that got you started down this dark path of beer nerdery, but now you can’t stand the site of them after either discovering more unique styles or having so many of them, the mere smell of one makes you cringe in horror.

But sometimes, beers like Wicked Ex from Big Wood Brewery out of White Bear Lake, MN make you remember why you fell in love with this rather popular style in the first place.  In the right kind of glass and the right temperature to show off its figure and taste, Wicked Ex rushes back all those early memories of you falling in love with IPAs and makes you forget, even for just a moment, whatever fancy style it is you are consuming/brewing now.

This brew has just enough of a bite to it that tickles the taste buds, but not too much that it repulses away the adventurous spirit.  That small hint of bitterness comes from the blend of Ahtanum hops, mixed with Cluster hops and a special blend from Northern Brewer.  The Anthanum hops give this brew that familiar citris and pine aroma and flavor that excite both the tongue and nostrils.

Oh, you may have found yourself steering away from beers of this variety, given your time and experiences with every other IPA that you’ve found nowadays, but the Wicked Ex is a Siren of this style.  It lures you in with an initial sweet flavor, then slams you up against the wall with that fresh bitter hop that will linger just long enough so that you don’t forget it, but not too long so that you can’t enjoy that burger and fries later on.

For beer purists, Wicked Ex tends to point in the direction of being a West Coast IPA, similar to other local Minnesota brewers who brag a similar style.  While this beer doesn’t outright advertise itself as such, the fact the main hops hail from the Pacific NorthWest, coupled with the strong hoppy aroma of this brew, would suggest that is the style the brewer was going for.

Calm yourselves everyone, I’m married

It’s ok to say you still love hoppy beers. It’s even more ok to say that Wicked Ex IPA from Big Wood Brewery is one of those subtly unique beers that makes you think of those early days. Boasting an 80 IBU, the hoppiest of beers from the suburban brewery, this beer packs a nice little love bite that will keep you coming back for more.  Try not to daydream too much about this foxy beer; sure you may have moved beyond this type, but you still gave it your heart at one point in your life for a reason.