March 27, 2015

Beer of the Weekend #668: West Coast Style IPA

I am taking it easy this afternoon — no running, lifting, or RAGBRAI training — so I thought I would review the beer of the weekend, West Coast Style IPA, brewed by the Great River Brewery of Davenport, Iowa, early so I can enjoy the rest of the Sweet 16 tonight.


I suppose one can call this a different type of RAGBRAI training. [Wink, wink, wink.]

Serving type: 16-ounce can. A sticker on the four-pack snap top has “06/27/15” printed on it. Is that a best by date? I have no clue.

Appearance: It pours a lightly hazy, bright, medium-ish amber into a nonick pint glass. A finger and a half of tight, eggshell-colored foam, with spots of larger bubbles, dissipates slowly and leaves trails of lacing stuck to the glass.

Smell: The first whiff is bursting with citrus and a little tropical fruit. Scents of grapefruit, orange, tangerine, and hints of kiwi and pineapple are most noticeable. There are also scents of pine and earthy hops. Pale malt and caramel do provide a nice balance.

Taste: The flavor does not exhibit as much citrus or fruit as the small, but it does pack a nice bitterness. The hops are most prominent and they leave a lasting bitterness that coats the tonsils. Caramel emerges as the beer warms. Hints of citrus and tropical fruit — mostly grapefruit, tangerine, and kiwi — hang around and are noticeable, but not prominent. The alcohol is noticeable, too.

Drinkability: It may be tasty, but it is not that drinkable since the ABV is above average. To me, West Coast IPA should be relatively sessionable.

Fun facts about West Coast Style IPA:

-Style: IPA.

-Price: $9.99/four-pack at John’s Grocery in Iowa City.

-Alcohol content: 7 percent ABV. When I think of a typical West Coast IPA, I do not think 7 percent ABV.

-IBU: 96.

-This is the first time I have seen West Coast Style IPA available in a can. I think it was only available on draft until now, perhaps under a different name. I think I drank a couple pints when I visited the brewery last spring with Sweets and Zaza. We sat on the patio, nursed pints, and enjoyed a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Oh, the things I won’t be able to do with them because they now have a kid…

-Great River is the only brewery that I know of that shrink wraps their labels onto cans. It gets the job done, but it sure ain’t pretty. The creases and warping really distort the labels, which does not make for ideal presentation. But, like I said, it works.


The Quiet Man’s grade: B+.