Enjoyed on 11/15/2010
Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Co.
Location: Vista, CA
Beer: West Coast IPA
Presentation: 12 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped
Style: American Style India Pale Ale
Hops: Simcoe, Centennial, Columbus, Cascade
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Enjoyed on 8/31/2010
Brewery: Yakima Craft Brewing Co.
Location: Yakima, WA
Presentation: 22 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped
Style: American Style India Pale Ale
Yakima Craft Brewing Co.’s IPA features a substantial, well-balanced taste with an emphasis on the hop.
Beer Advocate: B- (3.31)
Rate Beer: 49 (3.21)
Believe it or not, this is my first dance with YCB. Yes, they are still relatively new to the Seattle market, and their distribution here is spotty at best, but I’m a beer blogger… I’m slightly embarrassed. Better late than never I guess.
When I see that this brew is over 100 IBUs I have mixed feelings. Part of me says “touche” to the brewers for being bold and not at all thrifty when it comes to hop additions. Another part of me asks, “why?” Bitterness is nice and all, but it’s fairly common knowledge that the human tongue can’t distinguish flavor differences above 100 IBUs. Plus, brewers should be crafting brews with flavor and balance, not just ramming hops down our throats. Well, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Lets see how these brewers from the heart of hop country utilized the almighty humulus lupulus.
Very strong carbonation brings about a massive head that forces a slow pour. The brew’s color is on the darker side of amber, approaching rust. The clarity is strong. The head lingers throughout my time with the beer and is a fluffy white color of varying sized bubbles. Lacing is found all over the glass and is very impressive.
The hop scent is a bit subdued and nondescript, but I’d venture to use herbal and piney as descriptors. A strong amount of malt sweetness makes its way through the flowers, bringing an impressive balance to a very bitter beer. Hop bitterness is the most prevalent scent, but caramel maltiness stands tall.
I wouldn’t say that there is anything particularly striking about the mouthfeel. The carbonation calms a bit once it sits for a few minutes, settling it right in to the zone that it should be in.
The flavor, overall, is reminiscent of an overly bitter English style IPA. I have no doubt that the hop bill is sizable in this one, but I can’t place any particular hop attribute other than overwhelming bitterness. The malts only barely push through at the very end of the sip, just as I swallow, and present a bread like flavor and a pleasant sweetness. If only that sweetness could compete.
High alpha hops may have been used to spike the IBUs, but I’d ask at what intervals they where added. Conventional wisdom would tell me that the earlier the addition, the more bitter the result. YCB, heavy on the early addition?
As the brew warms a bit there is some alcohol burn that swells up through the bitterness. Yes, the bitterness continues to dominate the back and rear sides of my tongue well after the swallow. I find it a bit hard to get past. It masks the other flavors with its intensity. The bitterness mostly drys me out and weighs on me.
Case in point – massive IBUs doesn’t equate to pleasing all the hop heads. That being said, I have a sweet tooth. I’m always in search of the hoplipop…err…hop candy. This isn’t it. But if you define your hop-head-i-ness by bitter, bitter, bitter…this just might be your king.
Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.90
Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.50
Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.90
Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.10
Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.25
Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.80
Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 7.45
On September 10th, 2010 all Seattle area hop-heads will be beckoned by a hop-symbol that will be projected into the sky above Fremont. We will prepare our drinking costumes under the cover of our cave-like enclave, hidden from sight. We will strap on the beer utility belt and fire up the hop-mobile. Off to Brouwer’s Cafe to fight off thirst and grapple with IBU monsters well above the century mark. It will be an epic day.
That’s right, Hopfest is just around the corner, and the preliminary list has finally been posted on Brouwer’s blog. I’ve attached the list below, which will most likely grow a bit more in the days leading up to the festival. And, in true Brouwer’s fashion, one can always expect a few super special surprises on the menu that are not revealed prior to the event.
Beer Blotter will be preparing a guide to the fest that will help steer you in the direction of, what we feel to be, the brightest gems on the list. Look for that in a few days. In the meantime…the list:
- Alaskan Double Black
- Anacortes Black
- Anderson Valley Imperial
- Anthem Dry Hopped Cider
- Avery Maharaja
- Baron Dry Hopped Pils
- Big Al Dry Hopped
- Big Time Action Jackson
- Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster
- Black Raven Wisdom Seeker
- Boundary Bay Imperial
- Diamond Knot Shipwreck XXX
- Dogfish Head Burton Baton
- Double Mt. Molten Lave
- Elysian Idiot Sauvin
- Elysian Orgone
- Firestone Walker Union Jack
- Green Flash Pallate Wrecker
- Hub Ace of Spades
- Hub Galactic Imperial Red
- Iron Horse Mystery Firkin
- Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
- Laughing Dog Devil Dog
- Lazy Boy Imperial
- Left Hand Twin Sisters Double
- Mad River Imperial
- Midnight Sun Hop Dog Double Wheat
- Midnight Sun Meltdown Double
- Midnight Sun XXX Black Double
- Mikeller Cascade
- Mikeller Centennial
- Mikeller Chinook
- Moylans Wet Hopsicle
- Naked City Impact
- New Belgium Belgo
- Ninkasi Maiden the Shade
- Oskar Blues Gubna
- Pike Dry Hopped Double
- Port Brewing 4th Anniversary
- Russian River Blind Pig
- Russian River Pliny the elder
- Schooner Exact Imperial
- Scuttlebutt Hoptopia
- Silver City Whoop Pass
- Snoqualmie Dry Hopped Copperhead
- Stone 14th Anniversary
- Two Beers Fresh Hop