I was up in Chicago today for work, and on my way home, I decided to stop in Lexington, IL to see the new Kemp’s Upper Tap bar. Although it’s about 15 minutes north of Bloomington-Normal and is a super small town, this bar seems to get more good beers on tap than any other place nearby. It seems like the different flavored Ballast Point Sculpin beers have been pretty popular lately, so I thought I’d give this one a try.
Location: On tap and served in a mason jar at Kemps Upper Tap in Lexington, IL.
Numbers: 7% ABV, 70 IBUs, ~240 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s golden in color and pretty clear. It had a big, overflowing head, which fell to a thin, creamy, bright white layer across the top. There was an obvious grapefruity-citrus aroma.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouthfeel is slightly creamy. The flavor up front is mostly citrusy with some lightly malty sweetness. In the middle, the citrusy grapefruit flavor grows quite a bit and becomes somewhat sweet. The huge grapefruit sweetness continues to grow in the finish, and turns bitter, overtaking the sweetness. What’s left in the aftertaste is mostly bitterness with some light residual sweetness.
Food Pairing: Since this beer is pretty citrusy, I might try a pork loin to complement the flavor and cut through it a bit. An interesting experience might also be to add a citrusy component to a sweet BBQ like a pulled pork that’s bold enough to stand up to it.
Overall Impression: I thought this was a pretty good beer with the huge grapefruit flavor and bitterness. If you like west coast IPAs, you’ll probably love this beer, as it’s definitely citrusy, with lots of grapefruit flavor, showcasing the hops. It’s also a bold beer you can’t find many places, with more grapefruit flavors than anything else I’ve tried. So, I can see where beer enthusiasts celebrate it’s uniqueness. For me, it was a good, different style of IPA I’d go for again.