By and large, general reaction to the beer when it first appeared was apathy, or at least "unremarkable." That was the pushback I got on it before I even opened a bottle, so I was definitely curious. (Having not had it before, remember.)
Appearance: Nice and clear, red-amber in color, with a light tan head that built up nicely.
Smell: Clean, spicy hop aromas, a little earthy. Some rich roasted malt notes accompany that as well.
Taste: Big hop kick right up front, which washes over the back of the palate with a very clean, very pleasant bitterness—spicy and powdery. Malt is mellow and smooth with a nice "red" character (roasty grains with no astringency) and there’s a very pleasant warming quality accompanying the hoppiness.
Mouthfeel: Nice and smooth and medium-thick. Nice aftertaste—very clean—from the hops.
Overall: Hoppy and tasty, I was bracing for mediocrity since that was the prevailing reactions of others, but I quite like it.