We had my son’s soccer game this morning and then I laid 44 cubic yards of mulch. So, before I have to get ready to go to my daughter’s dance recital, I thought a beer was in order. I saw this beer at one of our local liquor stores a few weeks ago and thought I’d get it as an every evening kind of brew. It’s their version of a “session IPA” – which is a style that’s only recently emerged, although it’s just another name for hoppy American Pale Ale. It’s essentially a beer with lots of hop flavor and bitterness, but less alcohol than a normal IPA. It’s a little bit like the craft beer equivalent of decaffinated coffee – giving you the flavor you’ve grown accustomed to, but without the payoff of the reason you started tolerating it.
Location: Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL
Numbers: 4.5% ABV, 65 IBUs, ~140 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s bright golden-orange in color, and slightly hazy. There appears to be a fair amount of carbonation in it, but the creamy white head barely covers the top of the beer. The aroma is majorly citrusy with a bright pineapple-grapefruit smell.
Taste & Feel: The body is light and the mouthfeel is fairly crisp. The flavor up front is citrusy, almost like a pineapple-grapefruit juice. The flavors become a bit softer in the middle, with hop bitterness coming in to the picture. The bitterness grows quite a bit in the finish, along with the citrusy flavors, but it’s easily the bitterness that wins out. The grapefruit and pineapple bitterness last for a couple minutes in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This beer has a lot of citrusy flavor and bitterness, so it needs something light, but with body that can stand up to, and complement it. Therefore, I’d pair this beer with a thick, juicy pork tenderloin.
Overall Impression: The hop flavors in this beer are bright and citrusy, and along with the light alcohol content, it would be a great beer to drink on the beach. However, the bitterness is pretty bold and sticks around. It’s definitely a beer for hopheads, and especially those who’ve jumped on the citrusy hop bandwagon the last few years. Overall, it’s got a unique, bold hop flavor, but it’s not going to be my “go to” session beer.