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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Weekend Beer Tastings - Paradise IPA

Mill Street Offerings

This weekend I went to the Mill Street brew pub to pick up a bottle or two of their new beer schnapps (review coming soon if not already out) and while I was waiting in line I glanced at the fridge and noticed a couple of beers that caught my eye - Doppel Pils and Paradise IPA.

Doppel Pils

I decided to start with the Doppel Pils given its lighter flavor (hop flavor that is) and work my way towards the stronger tasting IPAs I had rolling around the fridge (obviously not rolling around).

The beer has a light golden color and pours with a two finger thick bubbly head that quickly recedes to a pinkie thick layer of foam. The aroma is of grains, sweet malt and distant hops. The mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy with a lot of sweet malt. There is alcoholic note towards the end which gives the beer a very warm and dry finish with a mild spice burn at the back of the throat. The malt is dominant throughout and the hops don't emerge until the finish and not truly until a few short moments after the finish. Unfortunately their appearance is short-lived.

This beer is a decent strong beer sipper but the dryness of the finish didn't leave me impressed. I would drink this again, but I would also have a cup of water in my other hand...with some ice.

Paradise IPA

This one is an American style IPA (duh) and unlike Mill Street's regular IPA offering (British style IPA), this one is heavy on the west coast hops. This is the IPA most people think they are getting when they buy an IPA growler from Mill Street (it has happened to a couple of guys I know as well as several patrons of the brew pub store that I have overheard on several occasions). Just an FYI - it doesn't hurt to ask what the beer you are getting is and whether or not it is a style you might enjoy.

Well, back to the IPA - it has a hazy amber color and pours with a short to medium head that quickly recedes to a thing ring around the edges of the glass. The aroma is hoppy and sweet with notes of honey, pine, papaya and some pineapple. Inviting!

The flavour is bitter upfront but transitions to sweet and malty and ends of a bittersweet note. Throughout notes of toasted malt, tropical fruits and hops are present with hops intensifying towards the finish.

Though there are plenty of hops, the beer doesn't feel overhopped, overly bitter and grassy. There is a nice balanced between the bitterness, sweetness and the fruitiness. At 7.2% it is surprisingly easy to drink back to back.

Next time you hit up the Mill Street brew store (or any other similar store) don't be afraid to ask if you are getting British or American style IPA. No offense to the British style IPA (some of which I really like), but it has been my experience that most people seek the American style IPAs.

Great Lakes Brewing Offerings

Johnny Simcoe Pale Ale

I bought a few cans of this when I went to pick up my Robohops on release day some time ago. These can only be picked up at the Great Lakes Brewing store for about $3-something and since these are from tank ten then the quantities are limited, unless this goes the way of My Bitter Wife.

The beer has a light amber color and pours with a short creamy head. Immediately the air around the beer is filled with fruity notes from the strong simcoe hops. Up close heavy tropical notes and pine are dominant.

The taste is a bit watery at first, but light sweet malt and tropical notes quickly come out and give the beer some depth. Some bitterness also emerges right after the hops and starts to build up for the finish which is heavy on the hops. Lingering grassy notes, which I am not a huge fan of, add to the dry and bittersweet finish.

Overall, this is a light and refreshing American style pale ale that is heavy on the hops and fairly refreshing on a hot weekend night. Unfortunately after a single can, the bitterness was so much at the back of my throat that I couldn't have another one. Perhaps lowering the hops to malt ratio just a tiny bit will get me to fall in love with this pale ale. Or maybe if I have a bit of water I will be good to go for another.

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