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The Hop Brief: Green Flash Brewing West Coast IPA

November 17, 2010 3 comments

Warning: Face may implode.

Enjoyed on 11/15/2010

Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Co.

Location: Vista, CA

Beer: West Coast IPA

Web: http://www.greenflashbrew.com/

Presentation: 12 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2010

Style: American Style India Pale Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 7.3%

IBU: 95

Hops: Simcoe, Centennial, Columbus, Cascade

Malt: N/A

Commercial Description:

 

This West Coast-Style India Pale Ale is extravagantly hopped, full flavored, medium bodied and copper-colored. A menagerie of hops is combined throughout the brewing process to impart specific characteristics. Hops used include Simcoe for a unique fruitiness and grapefruit zest, Columbus for strong hop pungency, Centennial for pine and citrus notes, and Cascade for floral aroma.

 

Beer Advocate: A- (4.17)

Rate Beer: 99 (3.87)

 

Timperial’s Notes:

 

Background.

Green Flash is, unofficially, a member of the San Diego IPA Masters Club (SDIPAMC).  The only reason that they are not official members is because the SDIPAMC doesn’t exist.  I just made it up, right then.  But by golly it should exist.  There is something in the warm air down there, or maybe it’s the water…who knows, but San Diego county seems to have an endless supply of IPAs come out of it, each one better than the last.  I think I’ll just let the numbers tell the tale.

All of the following rating are courtesy of www.ratebeer.com

Green Flash (Vista, CA) West Coast IPA: 99

Green Flash Imperial IPA: 99

Coronado (Coronado, CA) Idiot IPA: 98

Coronado Hoppy Daze IPA: 97

Stone (Escondido, CA) IPA: 100

Stone Ruination IPA: 100

Alesmith (San Diego, CA) Yulesmith Summer IPA: 100

Alesmith IPA: 100

Ballast Point (San Diego, CA) Sculpin IPA: 100

Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA: 99

Ballast Point Big Eye IPA: 98

Karl Strauss (San Diego, CA) Big Barrel Double IPA: 97

Karl Strauss To The 9s Imperial IPA: 96

Port Brewing (San Marcos, CA) Hop 15: 100

Port Brewing Wipe Out IPA: 99

Port Brewing Mongo: 99

Alpine (Alpine, CA) Exponential Hoppiness: 100

Alpine Pure Hoppiness: 99

Alpine Nelson IPA: 99

Alpine Duet: 99

And I didn’t even get into the Pizza Port IPAs.  It’s just plain ridiculous.  It’s clear that SD is IPA Valhalla.

 

Appearance.

 

West Coast IPA pour an extremely cloudy (chunky even) orange tinted amber with a big rocky head formed of varying sized bubbles.  The foam takes quite some time to settle, leaving generous globs of lace in its wake.  The lace and head are stark white.  About a millimeter or two of foam remains atop this bitter masterpiece throughout.

There is an obscene amount of particulate suspended in the solution.  I’d imagine that, most likely, the floaters consist of tiny bits of whole leaf hops that were left behind after dry-hopping.

 

Odor.

 

The nose is full of hop resin.  Pine and citrus seem to weigh in with equal parts.  Much to my delight, there is a sturdy framework of sweet, biscuity malt at the core of the hop mountain.  The hop scent is very pungent and earthy.  There is some muskiness, like wet wood or mud.  It garners images of a harvest on a rainy day.  Clearly there is no fresh hops within, but the profile portrays the guise exquisitely.  There is a small amount of skunkiness to the odor as well but all of the attributes coalesce to better allow me to appreciate the highlighted spice of the style.

 

Mouthfeel.

 

West Coast IPA feels wonderful in the mouth.  It’s not to thin and not too syrupy.  Actually, I’m very impressed with its density.  It feels much more like an imperial IPA

 

Flavor.

 

The bitterness in the flavor is intense, but the above IBU stats already said that.  Personally, I find it to be a bit much, but I am thankful that there is a lot of hop flavor here to seduce my thoughts away from my impending facial implosion.  Grapefruis, most likely from the Simcoe, is most easily pinpointed, and is most prominent on the back of the tongue and in the back corners of the mouth.  Yeah…it’s pretty much all citrus, and it’s the adjoining bitterness that forces thoughts of grapefruit, or of bitter orange.

There is a malty, sweet component to the flavor, but it is nearly all relegated to the aftertaste.  I’m mostly impressed with how intensely bitter this is, yet somehow I’m left feeling excited about the complete picture that this beer paints.  It’s as complex a single IPA could be.  Or, possibly more aptly, it’s the most complete, rounded example of an IPA that I can think of.  No one element unanimously blows me away, but each characteristic is well composed and the layering of it all has been executed adroitly.  This is a superb example that all brewers should study.

 

Aftertaste.

 

The bitterness wants this beer to finish bone dry, but somehow the lingering sweetness combats most impressively.  I’ll give it a high B grade, mostly because there is balance amidst the 95 IBUs.

Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.89

Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.94

Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.97

Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.70

Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.86

Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.90

 

Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.26

 

The Hop Brief: Nectar Ales Nectar IPA

Nectar IPA

Enjoyed on 7/28/2010

Brewery: Nectar Ales

Location: Paso Robles, CA

Beer: Nectar IPA

Web: http://www.nectarales.com

Presentation: 12 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2010

Style: American Style India Pale Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 6.7%

IBU: 60

Hops: Bittering – Chinook
Late Kettle – Mt. Hood, Cascade
Whirlpool – Cascade
Dry Hop – Chinook, Centennial

Malt: Premium Two Row
White Wheat Malt
Crystal 75
Carapils

Commercial Description:Our IPA is created from a base of Pale and Crystal malts and is aggressively hopped throughout the brewing process with a final hop addition in the conditioning vessel.  A beautiful flowery hop aroma will greet you as you dive into this hop lover’s dream. A middle caramel malt presence balances high hop bitterness with hop flavor end to end… learn to love hops!

Beer Advocate: B+

Rate Beer: 97 (3.63)

Timperial’s Notes:

Nectar Ales is a label that falls under the Firestone Walker umbrella.  It didn’t always.  The three Nectar Ales beers were originally brewed by Humboldt Brewing Company of Arcada, CA, which was acquired by Firestone in ’05.  I don’t know for sure if the recipe is the same as it was originally, but I do know that Firestone Walker is a mind-blowingly good brewery, and they sure as hell wouldn’t attach their name to anything sub-par.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever had this beer before.   Even though Firestone’s existence in WA is still fairly shiny and new, it seems like Union Jack and DBA are on tap and in bottles almost everywhere.  That is not at all the case with Nectar.  I would expect to see this IPA on at Brouwer’s Hop Fest, but that’s about the only expectation I have for its appearance on draft in the Seattle area.  You know what?  Maybe it’s just not all that exciting.  I either don’t know or don’t recall.  Let’s remedy that shall we?

The brew pours a pale amber color with a large white head of varying sized bubbles.  With some time the head subsides but never fully dissipates.  A good centimeter or two of white foam remains throughout my time with it.  a respectable amount of lacing is found in various sections of the inside of the glass.  Visually, the carbonation seems just about perfect, with little bubbles rising from the depths at regular intervals and building upon the white foam cap.

The scent is fantastic!  Very floral to my senses.  I am reminded of honeysuckles, which in turn reminds me of the house I grew up in.  This is a very pleasant feeling.  I get the impression that this beer isn’t all bitterness.  The C-75 makes it’s presence known, and for that I am thankful.  A more potent scent of candied hop flowers has been experienced before, but considering that this is a single IPA brewed year round, I’d say that the ratio is weighted in Nectar IPA’s favor.  Very impressive!

The mouthfeel is a bit thin, and the carbonation that appeared hearty doesn’t seem to translate on the tongue.

The flavor is very pleasant.  I could surely drink this in succession and be full of smiles.  The hop element is juicy and matches the floral scent.  Some herbal notes seem to fight through and lend a slight medicinal quality.  Most of the bitterness is found in the aftertaste.  Balance is definitely there, and that’s big for me – I need a little sweetness to combat the bitterness, and I’ve found it.  There is a definite caramel glaze whisked into this one.

The aftertaste is the only place for improvement here.  All of the bitterness seems to converge in this area, and most of the best flavor elements seem to wash away.  It feels slightly watery in the end, which is sad because it starts off so well.  This attribute could actually work in Nectar IPA’s favor because it begs you to take another hit and revel in that most succulent of opening experiences.

Well we now know, this isn’t a rare tap for a lack of worthiness.  Most likely just a matter of supply (a major lack of) versus demand.

Timperial’s Score:

I’ve never really been fond of scoring beers.  It’s all so subjective.  I would most likely score the same beer two completely different ways on two different days.  But…this column is all about growth, and with the outrageous quantity of hoppy beers on the market, I feel the need to assuage my desire to whittle them down to an elite few.  Thus, I developed the following scoring system.  This method just sort of came to me on a whim, so chances are it will evolve with time.  The goal was to rate each beer on a 10 point scale.  Some areas are weighted more heavily because I feel they are more important to the overall experience of enjoying a hop forward brew.

As I rate each category, I am generally thinking in terms of a letter grade (A through F, in comparison to the greatest and worst elements of all hoppy beers I’ve tried to this point) and then converting that into a score out of 100.  I then multiply that score by the weight of the category.  At least, that’s how it works tonight.  Any suggestions for improvement would be appreciated.

Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.93

Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.88

Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.80

Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.64

Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.88

Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.76

Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 8.89

Disclaimer: This was not a free sample, but I’d gladly accept any offers.

Introducing: The Hop Brief

Hop Leaf

In just a few short months I’ll have been writing my Notes of a Beer Nerd (NBN) column for an entire year.  In that time I have not reviewed a single pale ale, IPA, or imperial/double IPA.

Why is that?  Is it because I don’t like hoppy beers or that I don’t feel that they are worthy of a review? GOOD GOD NO!  I love all things humulus lupulus!

Now I wouldn’t say that the larger classification of “pale” ales includes any single style that I would consider my number #1, most favorite style of all (I am Timperial Stout for a reason), but there is no other style that I crave more on a regular basis.

IPA is, without a doubt,  my go-to style.  After a long day of work, I most often want to sit down and relax with something herbal, piney, citusy… you know, something with some serious IBUs.  Anytime I’m at a “yellow beer bar”, I’m looking for a beer, any beer, with a respectable portion on alpha acids.

I think you get the point.  Despite what you may think, I really do heart hops.

The main reason why I don’t write about hop forward beers is that I find it to be very difficult to expand on the experience with any worthwhile composition.  When I write NBN, I try to fully express the various waves of perception that my senses experience amidst my enjoyment of a highly complex beer.

In my view, hoppy beers are very rarely complex, or rarely complex in a way that I am able to deconstruct and adroitly verbalize.  Content escapes me.  Most often I feel as though I’ve reverted back to a time when my beer knowledge was fledgling at best.  “This tastes…hoppy…and lacks balance.”  End of review.

The most unfortunate part about it is, as I said earlier, I heart hops.  I drink IPA’s all the time.  I really enjoy hoppy beers.  Shouldn’t I be able to share these experiences?  Perhaps I should view it as a challenge.

The Hop Brief will be dedicated to this aspiration.  It may be painfully curt in the inception, but here’s hoping for growth, both as a writer in general and as a beer reviewer.

As always, Beer Blotter desires your thoughts.  Taste something different?  An adjective strike you that would be more appropriate?  Think that my taste buds are straight up worthless? Shoot us a line.

Look out soon for The Hop Brief.

Events for the Week of January 18, 2010

January 19, 2010 1 comment

Quencher's Saloon in Chicago, IL always has great events!

Where to go? What to do? What to drink? These are all very pertinent questions for this week and every week for that matter. We, at Beer Blotter are here to tend to your beer going and beer drinking needs.

Monday, January 18, 2010

  • Flight Night: Chicago, Illinois

11:00AM -2:00 AM @ Quencher’s Saloon

Stop by Quencher’s Saloon to 1.) continue to dominate Stout Night OR 2.) spend a mere $15.00 and taste 5 different beers (6 oz pours) on tap. We at Beer Blotter love this concept, being able to taste a variety of beers without breaking the bank or suffering from public drunkenness on a Monday evening. This does occur every Monday, so if you can’t make it tonight there will be endless opportunities.

  • Women Only, No Boys Allowed: Stout and Porter Night: Escondido, California

7:00PM- 9:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Its Sex and the City, but without the Cosmos and catty conversation…so its nothing like Sex and the City—> its Stout and Porter night with female beer enthusiasts and Stone’s own, Kathryn Bouscaren.  This night will be tasty and informative as the women in attendance will learn all about the history and brewing process affiliated with Stouts and Porters. A few of the featured beers include: Alaskan Smoked Porter, Deschutes The Abyss and Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased at the Stone Company Store or HERE!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

  • Green Flash Brewing Co. Night: Seattle, Washington

6:00 PM – 2:00 AM @ Brouwer’s Cafe

Finally, another amazing beer from California has entered the Seattle market. Appropriatly so, Brouwer’s Cafe is featuring 9 Green Flash beers on tap which include: 7 anniversary, West Coast IPA, Hop head Red, Imperial IPA, Double Stout, Le Freak, Triple, Coffee Stout and a Barleywine. Read more about these beers on  Green Flash Brewing’s website.

  • Three Creeks Brewing Bottle Release: Portland, Oregon

5:30PM -7:30PM @ The Beermongers

Oregon’s newest brewery, Three Creeks Brewing made a splash with Rudolph’s Imperial Red Ale.  Now they are ready to release more brews and the brewer will be at the Beermongers to give out some samples. While you are tasting these brews, check out Beermongers’ bottle selection, its AMAZING!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

  • Emelisse Brewery Debut Party: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Keg is tapped at 4:00pm until its gone @ Tria

Known in the Netherlands as Bierbrouwerij Grande- Cafe Emelisse, this international brewery’s Imperial Stout is featured at Tria for one night and one night only.  This is the only keg in all of Pennsylvania and according to Tria’s website, its a “small” one. If anyone gets to have this beer, please leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com!

  • Festival of Hops: St. Paul, Minnesota

12:00 PM- 12:00 AM @ The Muddy Pig

For twelve straight hours (and through January 24, 2010) come enjoy hop heaven in the middle of winter. Take a break from those winter warmers, stouts and barleywines (although all are equally amazing) and indulge in some hops! The 2nd Annual Festival of Hops at The Muddy Pig will feature over 60 + Pale Ales and IPAs. $8.00 will get you 3 5-oz pours. No tickets necessary.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

  • Belgiumfest 2010 Preview Event: Seattle, Washington

3:00 PM- 2:00 AM @ Beveridge Place Pub

Come preview many of the great Belgium style beers brewed by Washington brewers that will be present at this Saturday’s Belgiumfest 2010 in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. Check out Beer Blotter’s post about this event and CLICK HERE, NOW! Oh and stop by Beveridge Place Pub and wet your whistle.

  • Dogfish Head Beer Dinner: Longwood, Florida

6:30PM – 9:30PM @ Cravings Restaurant

We wish Dogfish Head would have a dinner somewhere, ANYWHERE in Seattle. The beers are so flavorful and complex, the perfect pairing to a well seasoned meal.  Tonight’s menu and DFH pairings include some of the following items: Warm Raspberry Bacon Vinaigrette infused with Midas Touch, tossed with mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers paired with Midas Touch, Braised Short Ribs with a 90 minute demi glace, fire roasted root vegetables, and Smoked Gouda Risotto cake paired with 90 Minute IPA and 120 Minute Ice Cream in a Cream Puff with White Chocolate Ganache paired with 120 Minute IPA.  An IPA Cream Puff???  “I want to go to here.” Tickets are $45.00 all inclusive and there is limited seating so call 407-951-8662 for reservations!

Friday, January 22, 2010

  • Winter Brew Fest: Denver, Colorado

7:00PM- 10:00PM @ Mile High Station

Come for Mile High Station’s semi-annual festival (summer and winter fests) and enjoy some winter brews while they are still in season.  $30.00 in advance and $35.00 at the door, a souvenir glass and UNLIMITED tastings will be offered.  Featured breweries include: Great Divide Brewing Co., Big Sky Brewing Co., Avery Brewing Co., and Fort Collins Brewing Co.

  • IPA Firkin Tapping: Spring House, Pennsylvania

5:00 PM-12:00 AM @ Drafting Room- SpringHouse

Once a month, the Drafting Room celebrates the history of beer by tapping a firkin keg, tapped and poured in the traditional way of driving a spigot into the front of the keg with a wooden mallet.  This month/this weekend has IPA’s galore, such as Green Flash West Coast IPA, Green Flash Hop Head Red with Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA, Weyerbacher Hotel (just released in December) and Weyerbacher Quad pouring on Saturday, January 23, 2010. Experience beer and a taste of history!

  • Heavy Seas Beer Dinner: Alexandria, Virginia

7:00PM- 9:00PM @ Bilbo Baggins

Hosted by Heavy Seas beer founder, Hugh Sisson, come enjoy beers made by Clipper City Brewing Co. and indulge in a mouth watering menu.  Enjoy a unpretentious night of beers and good food with items such as Assorted Bilbo Baggins’ gourmet flat bread pizzas and Handcut french fries topped with Wisconsin cheese curds and homemade gravy paired with the following beers: Small Craft Warning – Loose Cannon – Peg Leg – Winter Storm – Holy Sheet – YuleTide – 2008 Below Decks. Come hungry and thirsty!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

  • Day Two of the Three Day Big Beer Event: Norristown, Pennsylvania

11:30AM- 11:30PM @ Capone’s Restaurant, Inc.

No need to go into much detail about this event: Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, Victory Old Horizontal 2008, Allagash Interlude 2008, Stoudts Old Abominable Whiskey Barrel Aged 2008 and Lost Abbey Angel’s Share 2008, should do the trick. There is more, just go and make us jealous!

  • BELGIUMFEST 2010: Seattle, Washington

12:00-4:00PM OR 6:00PM-10:00PM @ The Engine Room at Georgetown Studios

Stop by for one of two sessions for $30.00 in advance and $35.00 at the door.  Advance ticket sales end at 5am on Saturday, January 23rd, or as soon as the event is sold out.  Check out Beer Blotter’s post of BELGIUMFEST 2010 including details and beers to be had by moving your cursor here and clicking.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

  • Belgium Beer Dinner: Milford, Massachusetts

5:00PM-7:30 PM @ Prezo’s Grille and Bar

Lets continue to celebrate all that is Belgium and all that is beer by flying overnight from Seattle, WA to Milford, MA. Well maybe not, but please leave a comment if you go to either, all or any! 4 of the 7 (although we all know there are only 6 in Belgium with the 7th in the Netherlands) Trappist breweries will be featured. Orval, Chimay, Rochefort and Westmalle, oh my! Call (508) 634-0101 for reservations! Cheers!

  • Festival of Hops Continues: St. Paul, Minnesota

12:00 PM- 12:00 AM @ The Muddy Pig

LAST DAY!

Done, Complete! Writing this event post every week sparks interest in:

1. travel by means of a transporter,

2. stopping time in order to enjoy all of these beers and

3. checking out places like Milford, MA and Norristown, PA.

Beer is everywhere and that is a great thing!  Have a wonderful week and as always, if you attend an event, have more information about an event, want to mention an event, or just want to voice your opinion, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com.

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