Jim Storer has been somewhat of a craft beer scholar for me and has spent the last several months working me over to contribute to craftbeersocial. I’m here, excited to be a part of it and looking forward to jumping in with the occasional review. I’m no connoiseur but I’m learning and hoping to expand my proverbial beer palate. I consider Heady Topper to be my gold standard, yet it’s been fun over the last year keeping on the search for the best of other genres of beer – not to mention trying to see if any IPA/DIPA can come close to HT.
Jim recommended this one from Port Brewing after a good discussion about the merits of dry hopped beers. I’d consider myself a hop head who appreciates balance – I usually like a little bit of age with really hop forward IPAs. While this one has little room for more hops – it’s definitely a gem, fresh as can be. This was bottled on 10/2/2012 and consumed about 3 weeks later.
Popping the cap reveals a green, cirtrus aroma – my pupils dialated right away. Love that fresh hops smell! A big white head was unexpected with the pour, with lots of lacing. The color is a nice pale yellow, a little hazy. The taste is crazy hops – but leaning more citrus (maybe pineapple?) than pine and not as much carbonation as I expected after that big head on top. Feels really light for an IPA and the bitterness of the hops makes it feel very dry.
The label says “We hope this seasonal IPA will… be sought by hop heads everywhere seeking something a little more extraordinary.” Count me in, I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one next year.
Vital Stats: Served at 45F in a small stemless tulip (yep, that’s from the Alchemist). 6.5% ABV.
Taste: A-. I love the hops, not as bitter as some really hoppy beers. Really enjoyed this as my first experience with a fresh hopped beer.
Drinkability: B+. ABV isn’t too high, and once you get rolling the dry finish makes me want to keep coming back. Not sure I’d have more than one growler in a sitting though.
Packaging: B+. Port Brewing’s cartoon labels are classic, and this one makes me want to grab my surfboard and dive into the ocean of hops. Love the explanation about catching the hop cones at their peak (pictured).
Value: B-. $8.99 for a growler is pretty standard, and not bad for a more rare seasonal. I might be jaded here.