When late spring/summer rolls around, I am usually tired of gulping down pints of rich creamy stout, dark roasted porters, and even brown ales to some degree. The heavy character of those beers I love, but when the weather gets warmer (especially like recently), my body tells me these aren’t refreshing drinks in any sense….so I usually switch over, almost exclusively to IPAs, Pilsners, and Belgian ales. This past week, I had two IPAs which I thought were worth mentioning, even to those of you that can’t tackle (understandably so in many cases) the bitterness, or sharp bite of modern American-style, India Pale Ale.
Mojo IPA: ABV 7% | Boulder Beer
This beer comes from Boulder Colorado’s Boulder Beer, Colorado’s first microbrewery, and they make some other beers many of you are familiar with like Hazed and Confused, and Sundance Amber.
I served it in a royal imperial pint glass (#562), and poured it off slowly. The beer isn’t as thick in appearance as some other American IPAs, instead it yields a more clear orange/goldish color. The smell of the beer was what I really enjoyed because it delivers the classic citrus, lemon/orange zest, but this also had some nice floral aspect and a butterscotch sweetness. The beer tasted different than many IPAs in this style for several reasons. For one, the malt is more balanced in this beer, and so one doesn’t get that intense bitterness, instead you’ll find a buttery sweetness that is well balanced against the hops. The texture /mouthfeel is smooth, and you get the sweetness at the front end with some citrus acid at the very end, but not a lot of harshness (as much as I like that sort of thing, see below). I think this beer would be outstanding with most grilled food. I had it with one of Jamie Oliver’s “Botham Burgers” which we make frequently during the summertime because we freshly grind the 50-50 beef pork shoulder, mix it with cumin/corriander, mustard, and the result is a fat flavorful patty with a fluffy texture. This beer is a “drinkable” IPA in every sense!
Pike Double IPA: ABV 8% | Pike Place Brewery
This beer comes as a special from Pike Place brewing (Seattle, WA) as it was made to celebrate Seattle Beer week, in early May. It is the very first Double IPA designate from Pike Brewery. A double IPA (also sometimes termed an Imperial IPA) usually has a larger amount of hops and malt and is typically >7% ABV, with higher IBUs international bitterness units (usually above 60), in short a scientific way to measure acidity.
This beer, is definitely less approachable for some palettes given the intense hoppiness, and bitter flavors it brings. The beer pours much darker than some, but the mouthfeel wasn’t as thick, and the head was lacking in depth, as it faded quicker than most. This beer, in contrast to the Mojo, is much more classic northwest IPA, with an immediate bitterness in the mouth, and large amounts of citrus flavors, acidity coming through. I was even tasting a nice lime character, which isn’t as common as the orange citrus flavor of most in this style. There are also subtle hints of pine. This beer lacks any extra sweetness except a tiny bit to balance; this DIPA it is so dry in fact, some may want to sip water alongside it. To me, this is one of the better constructed, Pike Place beers I’ve had as of late. I was truly impressed with how rustic and robust the hop flavors were. It is pure to form for a “hop-head.” I’d recommend this to anyone who loves a modern large bite in their IPA.
I have a few more new beers to try this week that are chillin’ in the fridge. A Trade Route (formerly Laughing Buddha, now changed their name due to copyright) Infidel IPA (brewed with kaffir lime leaves), and a Belgian Ale Maredsous. If they are worth sharing, I’ll post. Cheers!