Part of Shipyard's Pugsley's Signature Series (I have no idea who Pugsley is...), the XXXX IPA makes no joke of intensity with bright orange X's on the front and a clearly marked 9.25% alcohol. According to the British convention, the X's connote style, not necessarily strength; a nice tidbit of historical bolstering, which I personally always enjoy with my beer.
The beer makers were kind enough to bitter it with Cascade, Warrior, Summit, and Glacier hops.
Sampling here in my brand new yard style beer glass (a gift from my brother and his girlfriend), it has the wonderful aroma of cascade dry hopping and a brilliant copper color. Unfortunately, the beautiful citrus hops that come through in aroma, doesn't tip off the palate when you first taste this beer. Reminds me of Trailers for movies that promise far more than the movie can ever deliver. The overwhelming taste is of malt, although I will give credit to Shipyard for beautifully crafting their grains, which gives the beer a smooth, sweet and rich caramel character. Do not fear, the hops return in the end, but now, mixed with the well bodied malt, does not have the promise that the aroma first offered and is not enough to satisfy my hop crazed palate.
XXXX IPA: ***1/2