Recreation Ale is Terrapin’s session IPA. Session IPAs, for those new to the term, are designed to be drunk in greater quantities than a traditional IPA, so are lighter in body and bitterness, and have a lower alcohol content than a traditional IPA. The nose is lemony and malty, the middle is more lemon and some very light pine, and the malt comes back forward in the finish with a touch of honey flavor over just a hint of piney bitterness. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is a nice light 4.7% ABV. This is a nice, if undifferentiated session IPA.
Hop ‘Em High is an American Double IPA from the Lonerider Brewing Co. of Raleigh, NC. The nose is caramelly and floral. The middle has sweet grapefruit and orange, a hint of pine and citrus rind. The finish fades to brown sugar and plums with just a hint of pine remaining. The body is full, and the alcohol is a reasonable 8.5% ABV, though this drinks like a bigger beer. This is a solid, nice American DIPA.
Continuing with beers from right here in Charlotte, Fake Plastic Trees is a hoppy wheat ale (think wheat IPA) from our friends at Birdsong Brewing Co. To start, the head is heavy and creamy, as befits a wheat ale, and the unfiltered golden hue is hazy. The nose has orange, lemon, and lemongrass scents. The middle is hop-forward with an American IPA profile (lemon and hint of pine) but served on a bed of wheat toast. This fades to bit more lemon and some grapefruit in the finish with the wheat continuing to balance things out and soften on the tongue. The body is medium and the alcohol is moderate at 6.4% ABV. This is a fun mash-up between a wheat ale and an IPA that will probably be best enjoyed by IPA fans.
Tarrapin calls this a California style IPA, which I take to mean West Coast. However, I’d call this more of a traditional American IPA with some tropical notes. The nose has orange and lemon, and some floral overtones. The middle is more citrus and some pineapple. There’s a bit of pine and a bit of peach in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a pleasantly light-ish 5.9% ABV. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but that doesn’t take a way from what is a very nice, unique beer.
By Ballast Point Brewing Company of San Diego, Sculpin is one of the best West Coast IPAs out there. The head is sticky and hangs around, the nose is of grapefruit, honeysuckle and floral. The middle is sharply hoppy with clean pine fading to grapefruit, then to apricot and lemon in the end. Mango and peach are also advertised notes in this brew, but I’m not getting them, at least not in this bottle. No matter though…It’s excellent as is. One of my all time favorites for sure. The body is medium-ish, and the alcohol is a respectable but not overpowering 7.0% ABV.
Slap Fight India Pale Ale from Monday Night Brewing of Atlanta, Georgia is a lovely little American IPA. There’s lemon on the nose, more lemon and some pine in the middle giving it quite a bit of bitterness, and a bit of grapefruit in the finish. There’s not a lot of complexity here, but for hopheads like me who enjoy a nice bitter IPA, this really hits the spot. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is a nice summer-weight 5.8% ABV.
Terrapin calls Krunkles a “South Pacific” style IPA, and I think I would agree that it lives up to the moniker. The hopiness that we know, love, and expect from our IPAs is here, and the twist is that it’s very nicely balanced with notes of tropical fruit. The nose has apricot and mango, the middle is spicy and smooth with mango, papaya, and a bit of coconut. There’s a bit of pine in the finish, but it isn’t particularly bitter until right at the very end. The body is light to medium and the alcohol is a lovely 6.6% ABV. This is a fun, unique take on an IPA and I’m really enjoying it.
Hopsecutioner is an American IPA, and a rather big one, from Terrapin Beer Co out of Athens, Georgia. While it’s styled as an IPA, to my senses, its closer to what I’d identify as as Imperial IPA than a standard IPA. It is heavily hopped (with 6 varieties) but balanced, so lots of malty goodness as well which gives it that strong resemblance to an Imperial. The foam is light and full, but dissipates quickly. The nose has strong orange notes, a bit of caramel, and some licorice. The middle has some slight piney bitterness, balanced with sweet bread dough, orange and some lemon. The lemon comes on more strongly in the finish. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is moderate 7.3% ABV. An interesting beer with the alcohol of an IPA, but the complexion of a DIPA.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Georgia for the past year, and as that time comes to a close, I’m going to try to review a few more local Georgia beers before I lose access. Today is Atlas IPA, from Reformation Brewery in Woodstock, GA. It’s am American IPA with lemon and a bit of bread and pine in the nose. The middle is peppery, with lemon and orange, and some orange and pine in the finish. A really nice, well done IPA that doesn’t stand out from the crowd and is an easy drinker. The body is medium, and the alcohol is 6.8% ABV.
On the bottle, Le Freak is described as a “Belgian Imperial IPA.” The Green Flash website expands a bit, explaining that it’s a hybrid of a Belgian Tripel and an American Imperial IPA. Interesting. The head is beautiful. Big and velvety, and it lasts for minutes. The nose is distinctively Belgian, with loads of fruit. The hybrid nature comes through in the middle with something I might describe as a battle between the sweet and complex Belgian, which is definitely here in full force, and the strong bitter west-coast style IPA that Green Flash is known for, which is just as present. There are spices, cherry, plum, pine, orange and grapefruit all mingling and alternately coming to the fore. The finish has some bitter citrus rind from the IPA, but is more Belgian in character with marmalade and a bit of licorice. The body is quite full and heavy, and the alcohol is 9.2% ABV, about what you’d expect for this style of ale. It’s probably not the next big thing, but it’s a fun mix, certainly enjoyable if you like the component styles, and well executed.