Beer of the Weekend #825: Tropical Torpedo

Wow — it’s been a long time since I posted a beer review! After my two-week abstinence and the conference in Minneapolis, it feels good to be back after a three-week hiatus.

I was in the Des Moines area for the last couple days and planned to fill my growler at Barn Town, the new brewery in West Des Moines. It didn’t happen. (I still need to try two other West Des Moines breweries, Twisted Vine and Fox. I think an extended trip to the DSM metro for liquid research would be worthwhile.) With an empty growler, I returned to IC and bought a sixer of Tropical Torpedo, brewed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, California.

The color is hazy, golden amber. An overly vigorous straight pour (I’m out of practice) produces one and a half fingers of dense, buttery, bubble-spotted, beige head. The aroma is tropical and hoppy with scents of passionfruit, grapefruit, light kiwi, and light mango. The back label mentions papaya, but I can’t vouch for that because I’m not familiar with papaya. Along with the kiwi and mango, it does feature some kind of tropical, island-like aroma, so I assume that is papaya. Though the aroma portends an aggressive bitterness, the first couple sips are well balanced; the bitterness is very tame. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth, reminiscent of a witbier or radler. The flavor mostly mirrors the aroma with passionfruit, grapefruit, maybe some tangerine, light mango, and light kiwi. That unfamiliar, tropical, island-like character — probably papaya — is also there. It has some zest, too. The bitterness is light but it does linger on the taste buds to provide a pleasing bite.

Fun facts about Tropical Torpedo:

• Style: American IPA.

• Price: $7.99 per six-pack of 12-ounce bottles at the “Drug Town” on First Avenue in Iowa City.

• Alcohol content: 6.7 percent ABV.

• IBU: 55.

• Sierra Nevada also has a brewery in Mills River, North Carolina, but I will forever think of Sierra Nevada as a California brewery. I wonder, though, where the Sierra Nevada beer we get in Iowa comes from. We are much closer to North Carolina than California.

• Tropical Torpedo is one of Sierra Nevada’s year-round offerings.

• Tropical Torpedo is essentially a tropical version of Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA (which I have not tried in forever). Both beers are made using the brewery’s “Hop Torpedo” which is a “revolutionary dry-hopping device that controls how much hop aroma is imparted into beer without adding additional bitterness.”

The Quiet Man’s grade: B.

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