Beer Review: Ithaca’s Flower Power IPA

flowerpower

Been dying to do a review of this one since I started this blog up. It was originally gonna be the first beer I reviewed but I wasn’t able to find a fresh six pack of it anywhere. From upstate NY it is Flower Power IPA from Ithaca Beer Company. This is one of the first IPAs I really fell in love with and one that I still very regularly purchase. I don’t wanna write to much in the intro here so let’s get right into the review. Flower Power comes in at 7,5% ABV and Ithaca does not reveal the beers IBUs.

Apperance: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Beer is a nice hazy orange color with some floating particles. Pours a nice 1 finger head which turns to really sticky lacing down the glass. One note on appearance is Ithaca packaging is definitely one of the ugliest on the market and honestly Flower Power is one of the better ones.

Nose: Piney, resin and earthy hop notes right up front. Some good tropical fruit notes in there as well especially pineapple. This beer is hopped and dry hopped with some of my favorite hops; citra, simcoe, centennial and amarillo to name a few. The nose on a fresh flower power is really great, it falls off hard with time unfortunately.

Taste: Really piney and bitter taste but it is balanced out nicely by the malt. Despite the bitterness of this one it is really easy to put down and has a light and refreshing feel to it. Wouldn’t guess this one is 7.5% but not gonna complain that it is! Tropical and Citrus fruit come through in the back end of this one as well, grapefruit and pineapple especially. Blows a lot of the West Coast IPAs away in my opinion.

Availability/Price: Ithaca stuff is pretty available in the northeast and this is definitely one of their flagship offerings. Definitely be sure to check the date though as these tend to sit around for quite a while at some liquor stores and after 90 days this beer falls off really hard. The price is a little higher but it does boast that 7.5% ABV so the ~$12 price tag seems reasonable.

Overall: Definitely in my top 3 of readily available Northeast IPAs if not the #1. Keyword there is readily available, there are of course better ones but your gonna have trouble walking into any old liquor store on the Northeast and finding a better IPA than this one (as long as its fresh!!!). The east coast is the new west coast.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Rushing Duck Baby Elephant Session IPA

babyelephant

This is gonna be my first review of a draft beer on the site as I had a 1 liter growler filled at the brewery for this review. It is of one of my favorite local breweries Rushing Duck out of Chester NY. I have for this review their brand new session IPA, Baby Elephant. The name is a play on their incredible Double IPA, War Elephant and although it doesn’t share the same hop bill as you may think, it is certainly the baby brother of the mighty War Elephant. I drank this the day after I got my growler filled  at the brewery and have also had it a few times since fresh from the brewery. Baby Elephant comes in at 4.4% ABV and I am not sure of the exact IBU.

Appearance: Poured from a 750 mL growler into a snifter. Pours a nice 1-2 finger head which dissipates into some really good lacing down the glass. The beer is a great light orange/straw color with some nice haziness to it. Just the right color a session IPA should be!

Nose: Nice nose on this small ABV session, lots of pine, resin and citrus. Especially getting some pineapple notes. Smell reminds me a lot of Stone’s Go To, which is definitely a good thing.

Taste/Mouth: Nice clean refreshing mouth is the first thing that comes out of this beer for me. You get some dry hoppiness but its paired with a good malt presence to back it up. You get some of the pine and citrus from the nose carrying over to the taste as well. This holds true to having the drinkability of a session beer with good characteristics of an IPA shining through.

Availability/Price: This beer, like most of Rushing Ducks, is a draft only. You can only find them in NY as of now as well but a trip to the brewery is well worth it. They keep growler fill prices at the brewery very reasonable.

Overall: Another great offering from the ever growing catalog of RD beers. This is right there with a Stone Go To or a Firestone Easy Jack as far as Nose, Taste and Drinkability. The bonus you get from this one though is supporting local craft beer, hard to think of many other beers I would like to be crushing on a long hot summer day of drinking!

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum Imperial IPA

hoptimum

Sierra Nevada continues to roll out what it feels like to be their never ending line of seasonal releases with the 2014 release of the Whole Cone Imperial IPA, Hoptimum. This beer is certainly one of Sierra’s most notorious beers and one that is definitely sought out by hopheads during its springtime release. Sierra claims this to be the biggest IPA they have ever created, boasting hopping, dry hopping and torpedoing to create an intense hop experience. Hoptimum comes in at 10.4% ABV and an even 100 IBUs.

Appearance: Really nice copper color, slightly hazy but pretty translucent. Pours a 1 finger head which dissipates quickly into some light lacing. The bottle artwork is among some of my favorite out and was done by the awesome artist Nate Duval. Sierra always has amazing artwork on their seasonal releases.

Nose: Piney and resinous as well as some earthy hop notes. Pick up some tropical fruit and malt sweetness as well. You can really pick up a difference in the nose from some other IPAs because of the amount of whole cone hops this beer has added to it.

Taste: Bitter and piney right up front with a little heat coming on the back from the 10.2% ABV. You get some fruit in the taste as well, lots of grapefruit. Has a nice balance of malt to back up the intense bitterness as most Sierra beers do have a pretty nice malt presence. The taste is complex and you it becomes enjoyable and evolves as the beer begins to warm up. I actually enjoyed the second half of the beer more than the first I think. More fruit and floral notes began to come out.

Availability: Seasonal spring release from Sierra which is very sought after but as usual Sierra brews quite a bit of it so you should be able to find some if your state gets it. Definitely try to get it and drink it very fresh.

Overall: Sierra Nevada and hoppy beers never seem to really fail. This one is no exception and is certainly a beer I look forward to every Spring. This is one of my favorites to have on draft as well. I think since it’s original inception it has perhaps fallen behind as other breweries have made bigger Double IPAs than this but this will always be a great beer.

Grade: A-