Pyramid IPL… yes, India Pale LAGER

I had to try this one when I saw it. I enjoy IPA’s while being a lager fan so this fusion intrigues me. Pyramid IPL is therefore a hoppy lager. I get a somewhat floral and fresh cut grass nose that’s pleasing but it could have more strength. The taste jumps around from sip to sip (or gulp to gulp). I’ve detected the fuller hop profile but it gets evened out by a characteristic malty, strong lager finish. Then again, hop bitterness does linger on the tongue for a while. This is a very drinkable beer at 6% alcohol but with the impression that we’re getting the lager version of IPA I’d expect a much stronger hop presence.


Pike Saison Houblon Farmhouse Ale

This ale hops out from down by Pike Place Market. The “Saison” character (Belgian yeast, spices) comes out on the tongue after a few sips but the “Houblon” (hops) profile asserts itself to the point of command. The nose is complex, aromatic and pleasing. This brew would definitely compliment spicy food. The color is a cloudy, almost grapefruit bronze. It’s another example of a Northwest brewer combining two favorites: the Belgian style with local penchant for hop power.


Ninkasi Total Domination IPA

Eugene’s Ninkasi Brewing Company offers an excellent vision of the India Pale Ale. My first taste of this brew was impressive on many counts. I noticed a strong and complex but not overpowering hop profile on the tongue. Yet, for an IPA, the beer is smooth in effect. I was surprised by a crisp, bitter finish that sort of crept up on me. What a nice touch! This IPA likely won’t persuade those who can’t stand those “hoppy, skunky beers” but IPA fans should take notice. Ninkasi has done good work in producing an IPA that’s balanced, like it says on the label. It’s even at a respectable 6.7%. “Total Domination” thankfully doesn’t mean hop reek and excessive bitterness here. Rather, it’s the overall profile.

The Dan Patrick Show Audible Ale by Redhook

I’ve been eying this one on the shelves of the beer aisle for a while. Now it’s time. It pretty good. Basically it’s a very round, dark gold ale with some surprisingly fine attributes. The nose is multiform, with hints of hay, dark bread and sea air. The taste is definitely for anyone who’d enjoy a Northwest beer that’s more in the middle of hoppy bitterness. It’s also firm and dry with just a quiet note of white wine on the finish. The beer is marketed as just the thing to swig while watching the game. I can’t disagree. At least you’ll be drinking some real flavor.

IPAs and Belgian Yeast

Tonight I tried Chainbreaker White IPA by Deschutes Brewery. It’s a mild Belgian Wit beer with laid-back hoppiness. It also has a light infusion of coriander and citrus in the Wit beer tradition. The color is pale gold. I’m still thinking this one over but I really like the idea of Belgian yeast in an IPA. It’s a great way to balance a strong hop profile.