Yikes. The last few IPAs I’ve had from New England have been snuggly. This one is snuggly in the way that wrestling a brawny red kangaroo is snuggly.
It’s thick in the mouth, but not syrupy. Thanks to New England’s natural conditioning of their beers, the carbonation here brings a certain amount of the heft in the body; it sort of unfurls in your mouth as you drink. The malt is relatively lean: they’ve use a stripped back malt bill to let the hops do the talking without the padding of specialty malt sweetness. Imagine a bare-knuckled boxer kissing each of his fists: “This one’s called Chinook, and this one’s called Centennial. And just wait til you meet Citra.”*
There’s a brutality here: none of the flavours are going to give you any special treatment. There’s grapefruit peel, there’s savoury resin, there’s a hint of bitter rye bread. The Citra brings plenty of aroma and flavour of citrus, but it’s the Chinook and Centennial that were loaded in for bittering. We’re looking at a gratuitous amount of bitterness here: it builds and builds. More bitterness than you can poke a stick at, as my dad would say. There’s also a very slight farmhouse character that’s crept in and nestled itself among the lingering bitterness, and I’m not mad at all. By the time this beer warms up a bit and the alcohol flavour sneaks in, it’s a smooth balancing note, bringing a smile and a sigh like whacking a bag of frozen peas on a swollen eye.
This is a beer where you do need to know what you’re stepping into, but you don’t need to be afraid. It’s a rousing event, and you’ll feel satisfaction and pride afterwards. Everyone’s a winner in this fight.
*I think in this scenario, Citra is a headbutt. If my sheltered middle-class upbringing and numerous Guy Ritchie films have taught me anything, it’s that bare-knuckled boxers don’t play by the rules.
Published February 15, 2023 2023-02-15 00:00:00