Beer of the Weekend #661: Tsunami Pale Ale

To celebrate Iowa’s win against Illinois last night, I cracked open a bottle of Tsunami Pale Ale, brewed by the Toppling Goliath Brewing Company of Decorah, Iowa.

Yes, the picture is a tad dark. Last night’s staging area was not the best.

Serving type: 22-ounce bottle. There is no discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, bright medium amber. A finger of buttery, dense, partly bubbly head dissipates slowly, leaving a little lacing and clusters of foam and bubbles.

Smell: Oooo! It is many things at the same time — including inviting. It seems to be a well-balanced pale ale. Citrus greets the nose first with lemon and orange (the beer’s webpage mentions mandarin orange). The citrus and gritty bitterness are tempered by caramel and a little tropical fruit, mostly kiwi and maybe a little mango. There are also hints of toasted malts, toffee, and even a little chocolate. In a way, it is like a citrusy version of Millstream’s Iowa Pale Ale.

Taste: It is maltier than I expected, and the comparison with Iowa Pale Ale is still relatively strong. Tsunami, though, is much more citrusy and bitter. Toasted malts, caramel, and a little chocolate are prominent at first. However, as the beer continues to warm, the gritty bitterness creeps in with just a little orange and perhaps pine. It is earthy as well. As the beer continues to warm, the flavors blend together nicely.

Drinkability: This is tasty stuff. The “grittiness” is okay — I really have no clue what else to call it — but I wish the citrus flavor was much more pronounced. (I suppose I should stop using the term “gritty” to describe bitterness, but I cannot help it. That is always what comes to mind, though I should probably substitute it for “astringent.”) It is potent, though, and good, drinkable stuff.

Fun facts about Tsunami Pale Ale:

-Style: Pale ale.

-Price: $6.99/bottle at John’s Grocery in Iowa City.

-Alcohol content: 5 percent ABV.

-IBU: 31.

The Quiet Man’s grade: B+.

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