Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: Abita Wrought Iron IPA

Alright, time for a beer review, just me this time, so this isn't our Feature Beer, but Abita Brewing was nice enough to send me a 6-pack of their new IPA to try, so I bring you my thoughts on their latest effort, the Wrought Iron IPA. They claim that the IPA "embodies the resilient, indestructible nature of New Orleans" and I don't know about that, but I do like the name and feel like "wrought iron" is a great reference to the traditional architecture of New Orleans, and the label is nicely done with the details of the lettering.

I've always been a bit of an Abita critic, mostly because I feel like their flagship brews are all getting passed up by the flagship brews from the newer Louisiana breweries. I've also stated many times my dislike for Jockamo, but I also always try to give Abita a fair shake. Their Bourbon Street Stout is one of the better beers brewed in Louisiana, although I wasn't as impressed with the Imperator Black IPA. I thought it needed more hops, but I did think that the Spring IPA and Grapefruit Harvest IPA were steps in the right direction, so hopefully I feel the same about the Wrought Iron IPA.

Wrought Iron comes in at 6.9% abv, and 80 IBU, so of Abita's four main IPAs, this is the strongest and most bitter yet. It's brewed with pale ale malt, and a combination of Apollo, Equinox, and Mosaic hops. Mosaic is a pretty popular hop these days, it's a hybrid of Nugget and Simcoe, and is known for producing a "mosaic" of flavors, including floral, fruity, and earthy notes. Apollo is primarily a bittering hop with notes of grapefruit, and Equinox is another high alpha acid hop known for citrus, floral, and tropical fruit notes.  

The first thing to notice is that the Wrought Iron IPA has the appropriate color going on. It's probably a little darker red than typical, but that doesn't bother me. The head looks great and had lasting retention. The aroma is what you would expect from the hop combination, tropical, pineapple, grapefruit, with a little earthiness / dankness in there as well. 

The first sip isn't quite as pleasant, the hops are all there, but the bitterness is a little harsh at times. This mellows out pretty well throughout the 12 ounces though, until it reaches a very pleasant hop-forward flavor without the awkward bitterness that sometimes comes from an IPA. 

All in all, this definitely is the best IPA produced by Abita. It's not going to rival the best in the country, but it's looking pretty good compared to local competition. Another step forward for Abita.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - The Alchemist Heady Topper

Alright, time for a real treat, well, for the reviewers at least. The Alchemist is a small brewery in Vermont that specializes in one beer, Heady Topper. They do put out some other releases these days, but for the most part, it's all about the Heady, which has developed a cult-like following and a reputation as one of the best double IPAs in existence. Thanks a bunch to Gabe for bringing a handful back for all of his beer friends!

Heady is only available in the Vermont area, and it used to be only available in short bursts when a batch was ready, but I believe it's more readily available these days, but still limited to Vermont.  The beer checks in at around 8%, with something like 120 IBU. They say to drink from the can, but when sharing with friends, that's just not very hygenic is it?

Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Jay Ducote (Bite And Booze), Brenton Day (The Ale Runner), Chuck Pierce (Me And My Big Mouth), and Buddy Ethridge (Baton Rouge Adventures in Beer).

Serving: Poured from a 16 oz. can.

Appearance: A murky deep gold, very hazy..

 Hoppy as fuck, lots of grapefruit and Jay picked up some papaya? Tropical fruit hop notes dominate, and it smells insanely fresh.

Taste: Super hoppy, with that grapefruit coming through strong again. Chuck said it was a, "hopsation on the senses" whatever that means! 

 Perfect, no lingering weird bitterness and extremely easy to drink despite the abv and IBU.

Overall: It lives up to the hype as one of the best DIPAs in the world. If you are ever in the area, grab some, and bring one back for me!

Overall Rating: 93.6
My Rating: 97