Really? It seems like every time I try a new beer and the bartender/brewmaster tells me it's "hoppy", I almost taste a hint of citrus. Kinda like what Goon was describing with the pale ales. That's the only way I can describe it. I don't know if you've ever had Bells Oberon, but that's what I mean. I like most of Bells' brews, but not that one. Most summer beers seem to have that citrus'y hint.
"hoppy" should only be used to describe the bitterness. Malts provide sweetness through fermentable sugars. If you want to really separate the flavors in your mouth swish it around like wine tasters.
Humulus Lupulus (hops) are the flowering cone of a perennial vining plant and a cousin of the cannabis variety (sorry no THC in this stuff) that typically thrives in climates similar to the ones that grapes do. Hop plants are dioecious, meaning the males and females flower on separate plants -- and the female cones are used in the brewing process. Hops are the age old seasoning of the beer, the liquid gargoyles who ward-off spoilage from wild bacteria and bringers of balance to sweet malts. They also lend a hand in head retention, help to clear beer (acting as a natural filter) and please the palate by imparting their unique characters and flavours. Basically, hops put the "bitter" in beer. Source
Malts (and adjuncts) provide the fermentable sugars that are required to make beer (and to make beer "sweet"). The process of malting converts insoluble starch to soluble starch, reduces complex proteins, generates nutrients for yeast development, and develops enzymes.Source