Beer Details: Rampage Imperial IPA from Black Diamond Brewing Company, Concord, CA (9% ABV, triple dry-hopped)
Appearance: A sunset orange beer, crystal clear, topped by a sticky head of lemony foam.
Aroma: Fresh summer apricots mixed with grapefruit, soft and fruity.
Taste: There's a huge wallop of citrusy hops upfront that rolls right into chewy biscuit malts toward the middle of the sip. It tastes simultaneously tangy and sweet, like fresh-squeezed orange juice. The sip finishes dry with a refreshing touch of grapefruit bitterness.
The effervescence seems to match the weightiness of this beer: just enough to lift the slick hop resins and syrupy malts, but not so much to scare them away. The alcohol adds a nice heat mid-palate and down the throat, and the hop flavors and aromas really open up as the beer warms.
Overall, I really enjoyed this imperial IPA. It packs a big hop punch, but with enough sweetness and nuance to keep my mouth happy down to the last drop.
Food Pairings: I'd love this with a big plate of mac n' cheese or a rich winter stew, something hearty and big-flavored to play against the beer's crisp flavors.
(Image: Emma Christensen)