Not that I'm already tired of drinking winter warmers, stouts and porters this winter. Just wanted to try something completely different than I've had recently. And boy did this one fit the bill.
Green Flash Brewing is a San Diego brewery known for being somewhere between a little and a lot different. They tend to not let conventional taste buds confine them. Because they've been around awhile their beer may be pretty easy to find. Even though I'm clear across the country I've been able to get some of their stuff the last couple years on the east coast side of the pint glass, both in bottle and in growler fills.
Palate Wrecker is billed as a bold West Coast IPA that packs a real hoppy punch.
Palate Wrecker was originally brewed for the Hamilton’s Tavern 2nd Anniversary celebration. It’s the most complicated West Coast–inspired IPA we have ever brewed—mashing and sparging with hopped wort, in addition to our hop layering regimen for IPA. By popular demand, it is now released for the world to enjoy.
ALC. BY VOL. 9.5% | IBUS: 100+
One hundred IBUs. Wow. Let's open up this pine tree!
Poured this one from a growler into an American pint glass. Suprisingly large head of least three fingers that sits atop a copperish, amber body. It presents as a very clear and crisp double IPA, or DIPA. I eagerly take a whiff.
Aroma is thick with citrus; a lot of orange and pineapple. Citrus powered from start to finish with a resinous pine tree smell mixed in. A hint of alcohol burn filters through as well.
First sip is just a mouthful of pine needles and zesty citric fruits. Think of biting into an orange peel that is wrapped inside ten more grapefruit peels and sprinkled with pine needles that were soaked in grapefruit juice. Yes, a lot of grapefruit coming through, it's very thick and piney before giving way to a pretty dry finish. Not a lot of alcohol burn in there despite the high ABV, but you can feel its presence when the dankness of the hops allows it. There's no question that this is just a beer fueled by hops from top to bottom. And the more you drink the thicker the hop buds get and the more bitter the finish becomes. It's quite an experience.
The mouthfeel is definitely par for the course: carbonation doesn't interfere, crisp and dry on the finish. Very dry.
Overall this is a beer that lives up to its name, fully and completely. Each sip assaults your tongue with piney bitterness and leaves the mouth completely dry and nearly barren of taste. It's as aggressive an IPA as I can remember having. And while that is an experience worth trying it may not be one that is tempting to come back to. On one hand there is something to be said for bold beers, on the other this one I didn't find nearly as complicated as the label suggests.
Insanely hoppy beers aren't complicated. They're just completely bitter. So if you're a hophead, by all means grab one and enjoy. If not, you can safely steer clear.