Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alaskan IPA review

Alaskan IPADo you think of surfers when you hear the name Alaska? Probably not, but if you examine the label on a bottle of Alaskan IPA, that is exactly what you see. Summertime in Alaska may still contain snow covered mountains but that isn't any reason why you can't enjoy a cold India Pale Ale from Alaskan Brewing Company of Juneau.

Lucky for the beer drinkers of Colorado, we get to sample a wide variety of beers from Alaskan Brewing Company. I chose this beer primarily because of familiarity of their brand plus this was the week of the 1st International #IPADay on August 5th. I've been sampling several IPAs this last week and wanted to see what the folks who brew an awesome Smoked Porter could come up with in a 55 IBU dry hopped IPA.

Appearance: Here again was another IPA that poured a clear copper orange color. Alaskan Brewing describes the color as honey gold. During a gentle pour, there rose a respectable 1 to 2 finger near white head of foam. This brew came with a twist off cap and still maintained a decent amount of carbonation.

Aroma: I let this beer breathe for several minutes and warm up slightly to try to let the full aroma come out. Alaskan IPA was brewed with a lot of European and Pacific Northwest hops. Along of the usual pine and slight citrus, I picked up on some spice too. However, despite all the hopping, this brew didn't have the usual heavy aroma that other well-hopped IPAs have. I had to really try hard to pick up on these scents. I could however detect a bit of sweetness in the air.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a medium bodied feel that rushed over my tongue with a noticeable drying effect. Alaskan IPA felt a bit frothy yet clean. It was a step up from some IPA's and didn't leave my mouth salivating. Plenty of carbonation here and that's a good thing. Going down, this IPA didn't leave any after taste. Very crisp.

Taste: Alaskan IPA was a smooth, dry IPA. The flavor of the boil hops and dry hopping didn't overwhelm me with bitterness. Rather, it started off with some pine and spice and ended with a silky semi-sweet malt flavor. Perhaps the glacier water added a bit of uniqueness to this brew as well.

Pairing: I chose to sample this brew with some Pretzel Crisps and some sharp Blue Cheese. The cheese had enough bite of its own to counter the bitterness of the hops. Again, when in doubt choose something spicy or sharp to go with an IPA.

Overall: As must admit, this Alaskan IPA took me a bit by surprise. First, the 6.2% ABV snuck up on me rather quickly into the sampling. This was no light weight IPA. The IBU rating seemed a bit lower than other IPAs of this type, yet I didn't mind.

The mix of hops and malts played well here and I had no problem finishing the 12oz pour in no time. This IPA was milder than most yet still highly enjoyable. Summertime made this the perfect time to taste this. I'll give this beer a modest Thumbs up for their unique taste but I'll want to try this again another time to see if the aroma can come out better under different circumstances.

Related articles:
- Alaskan Smoked Porter 2008 review.
- Alaskan Pale review.
- Alaskan Summer Ale review.
- Alaskan Amber review.
- Alaskan Black IPA review.

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