Sean’s Sips – Ska Brewing Co. Modus Hoperandi


  • ABV: 6.8%
  • IBU: 65
  • SRM: 7 (Standard Reference Method measures beer color intensity; a 7 falls between deep gold and pale amber)
  • Boil Hops: Centennial, Cascade, Columbus
  • Dry Hops: Cascade, Columbus


Referred to as the ‘Old-Man Bitter’, Modus began as a collaborative effort of the entire Ska Brewing Co. staff.  As they were seeking to create a new hoppy brew, Owner Dave Thibodeau said they purchased every pale ale and IPA they could find in Durango and did a blind tasting.  After picking apart each and every beer, Head Brewer Thomas Larsen and Bill Graham were charged with creating a recipe that combined the best elements of each.

In all honesty, I have to confess that I might have toned it down a tiny bit if it were entirely up to me – thank God it wasn’t!  Our brewers and other co-workers knew better. – Dave Thibodeau

Dave also acknowledged that they’re quite fond of hops beginning with the letter ‘C’ (as if you couldn’t tell from the hop bill).  Wondering what the favorite was during the blind taste testing?  Dave says that honor belongs to Odell’s IPA, “hands down”.

As for the packaging, you may have noticed a common theme among Ska bottles/cans.

Most of our labels feature characters from a comic book we wrote way back when we started the brewery 17 years ago.  ‘Pinstripe’ is the name of the skeleton that appears everywhere – he’s the CEO of evil global beer monopoly “Rotgutzen.” … As the Rotgutzen vs. Ska story has continued to evolve over the years we knew that a beer was going to materialize around the scheming that Pinstripe and his thugs were up to, and it was going to be a hoppy one.  You can see on the Modus label that these guys are clearly up to something. – Dave Thibodeau

As for the name, Dave said it came about as he was working on a sales presentation as they were entering the Texas market.  Dave referred to Ska’s unconventional means of selling beer as their “Modus Hoperandi”… and the name fell into place.

Don’t get me wrong, beer names using hop puns drive me fucking crazy, but this one just had to be. – Dave Thibodeau

English (sort-of):

Aroma – Citrus, pine, a little sweetness… but mostly just a hell of a lot of hops.

Taste – A lot of the same pine and citrus notes up front.  Just enough of a malty backbone to support the hop bitterness, preventing this from becoming a hop bomb.  The finish tastes exactly like biting into a grapefruit… in a good way (thank you Cascade hops).

Drinkability – With Summer rapidly approaching, I have a feeling I’m going to be drinking a lot of this beer.  The citrus flavors from the hops feels refreshing and it tastes more like 5% than just under 7.

Verdict – Packaged in 6-packs of 12oz cans, this beer is perfect for pretty much any outdoor activity (it’s pretty damn good sitting on your couch as well).  I still can’t get over how much this beer tastes like grapefruit juice…

[Disclaimer: I realize that I am in no way qualified to judge beer… so I’m not.  The goal of this post is to introduce you to a local beer that I think you’d enjoy.  It’s fine if you don’t agree with me, just don’t post angry comments about how you can’t believe I didn’t taste bubblegum, clove, and/or hot dogs in said beer.]

About Sean Buchan

Sean is a Physical Therapist and Photographer living in (and loving) Denver, Colorado. He enjoys shooting just about anything but his true passion is capturing the craft beer culture here in Denver. If you enjoy his photographs check out Beertographer.

  • BigKahuna Brew

    Great Beer!
    I like your disclaimer. That’s why I don’t “Review” beer on my blog. I just “Share” it the best I know how.

  • Nubadopofloposhopolopolis

    Definitely one of the best IPAs out there. That and Ranger IPA from New Belgium are my favorites.

  • Eric Ashby

    Out of all the IPA styles I have tried, Modus still remains my very favorite “In All Of The Land”!!! It does not have any yeasty aftertaste like alot of the tradition style IPA’s… The Hoppiness up front with a smooth finish is remarkable. I cook a bit and appreciate fine beer, whiskey, and cigars, as well. Modus also compliments a good smoke as well…
    I still think it should rank a 100…It does in my book.

    Cheers, Eric