Steamworks Flagship IPA: A recipe “4 years in the making” according to the brewery, this recent BC Beer Awards Gold Medal Winning IPA celebrates the invasion of the NE IPA (aka North East, aka New England) variety of IPA’s into British Columbia. Perhaps ignited by the likes of Heady Topper or other eastern USA breweries like Tree House Brewing, the impending popularity of this style was reaffirmed by locally brewed Bridge Side Cute NE IPA which was the first big hazy IPA release in BC. This particular beer really showcases the currently juice forward hazey IPA evolution creeping across the nation and will be offered year round by the brewery, of which you’ll see by the review below why this is so exciting! Before you read, full disclosure on my part, I was give a few bottles to sample when this beer launched, but I also immediately bought another six pack from the brewery after I finished those, so this is beer I paid for (and will continue to do so for a while).
Aroma and Appearance: It pours a hazy pale copper orange colour with 2 fingers of white foam and some very small bubbles that rise from the bottom of the glass. As you drink it the foam laces quite nicely down the glass and the cloudiness remains in suspension, absent of any unpleasant looking gunk in the sometimes sinks to the bottom of hazy beers. The aroma is very tropical and fruity, featuring lemon, orange and grapefruit citrus notes mixed in with some passion fruit and pineapple sweetness floating on top of wisps of very light biscuit malt.
Flavour: At first this beer shows off the slightest hint of biscuit malt before blasts of mandarin orange citrus notes attack your palate. In the middle it get super juicy, matching the fruit in the aroma and coming together in a Five Alike like tropical manner by showing off lemon citrus and passion fruit flavours accompanied by a medium body and mild pithy texture. Finally at the end, notes of tangerine are followed by a subtle but present grapefruit bitterness that leaves hints of pine resin in your throat on the aftertaste and makes you crave another sip.
Overall Impression: It starts off strong as a NE IPA with a big juicy middle and hazy appearance, but finishes with just a touch of west coast flare in its soft, slightly bitter aftertaste. Even after about 6 weeks after release it seems to retain its flavour and has a good shelf life for the style, which is something I’ll continue to test with my remaining bottles. I’ve had a few true NE IPA’s from some very sought after breweries recently and honestly this stands up to them and even outperforms in some cases.
Rating: I give it an awesome rating of 9/10, all I can hope is that the recipe remains the same for future releases.
Food Pairing: This will match up well with a lot of food, but will even be better with anything spicy like a street taco (or you know like 10 street tacos).
They are running a social contest right now (and releasing this in cans soon) so please snap a shot of this beer, post it online with the right hashtag and give it a go for a chance to win.