Friday, July 9, 2010

Green Flash West Coast IPA Review

Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Co. | Beer: West Coast IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale | ABV: 7.3% | IBUs: 95
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Green Flash West Coast IPAGreen Flash is a brewery with a lot of positive buzz, so when I first saw their neon green six-packs here on the shelves of Houston last year, I was pretty excited. Founded in Vista, California in 2002, Green Flash Brewing Company is the brainchild of Mike and Lisa Hinkley. The company brews up a combination of west coast and Belgian inspired beers and has racked up an impressive collection of awards and accolades.

West Coast IPA is Green Flash's flagship brew, so that's where we're starting off. The beer is pitched as an "extravagantly hopped, full flavored, medium bodied and copper colored" American IPA. The brewery doesn't disclose anything about the malt bill, but here's how they describe the hopping process:

A menagerie of hops are layered throughout the brewing process. Simcoe for unique fruitiness and grapefruit zest, Columbus for strong hop pungency, Centennial for pine and citrus notes, Cascade for floral aroma. A multi-dimensional hop experience.
Sounds like it's just up my alley. Let's dive in.

Appearance: The body is a lovely hazy and red-orange with tons of sediment in suspension (like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale). On top, a generous, fluffy, off-white head with great retention and lacing. Top-notch presentation.

Aroma: Tons of pungent, brassy, citrusy (grapefruit and orange), and piney hops fill your nose as soon as the bottle is cracked. It's almost perfumey. There's a rich caramel malt base underneath it all and a few hints of booze. There's a complex tale to unravel here.

Taste: The hops are just as present in the flavor as they are in the aroma, but more bitter and less sweet. Still very citrusy with plenty of grapefruit and juicy orange flavors. As for the caramel malt backbone, it's there, but it lets the hops take the spotlight. Lingering bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth with moderate carbonation. Leaves a good resiny coating in the mouth to ensure a long bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability: Providing you're a hop fan, this goes back pretty easily.

Verdict: This is a great American IPA, with a hop profile that certainly lives up to the West Coast moniker. Many times when I find myself craving hops I'm not in the mood for an all-out high-ABV hopbomb, and this is exactly the kind of beer I'm after. I'm looking forward to trying the other Green Flash offerings showing up here in Houston (and my fridge).

Grade: A

1 comment:

Royce said...

As far as IPAs go (and I'm generally not a big IPA guy) this is a pretty darn good one. Green Flash is from San Diego (like me - woot!) and they make us proud with their consistently good beers.

I like the term "American IPA" for this beer... I think that captures it pretty well. To me what stands out is how well balanced it is... most IPAs trend way towards hops, which is very off balance for my palate. This one is better in that regard, for me.