There is a point at which human tastebuds can no longer actually perceive more bitterness. But just below that point is this magical place where our tongues curl with happiness — happiness of the hoppy variety. This IPA from Green Flash sits solidly in that magical happy place, promising a hopped-up taste adventure like none other.
Beer Details: West Coast IPA from Green Flash Brewing Company, San Diego, CA (IPA, 7.3% ABV, 95 IBUs)
Appearance: Beautiful crystal-clear deep orange color with a sticky tan head of foam
Aroma: Hello, hop flower! If you weren't already prepared for a hop-bomb of an IPA, one whiff of the aromas coming off this glass would set you straight. These hops are perfumy and citrusy with a sweet candy note.
Flavor: There's no easing into this one — it's all hops, all day. They hit you at the front of the palate with a burst of grapefruit and bitter herbs, then settle mid-palate with fresh-squeezed OJ and piney resin, and then hit you on the way out with bitter citrus pith and a long lingering bitterness that tingles all the way down your throat. It's like a hop lozenge.
The sweet malts aren't totally lost here, though they're definitely playing second fiddle. They come through as a honey- and biscuit-like sweetness — just enough to give the hops something to play against.
You definitely need to like hops to get on board with this beer. The longer you sip, the more intense those hops flavors come. They mingle together into a resinous, pungent, slightly medicinal mosh pit of hoppiness. I love how the aromas and the flavor play off each other — the aromas are so strong that you still smell them even at the very bottom of the glass.
Food Pairings: If I could have my way, I'd drink this beer with a plate of ribs at my side. Something rich and fatty and intensely flavored to balance out the slick hops of the beer.
Have you had this beer? What do you think of it?
(Image: Emma Christensen)