Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Santa Cruz Aleworks, California IPA

Wow, there's a surprise for you.  This beer poured almost all foam, much to my disappointment, as you can see in these photos.

Sort of ridiculous, I don't know whether I accidentally hit the bottle on it's way out or if it was just bottled under extreme pressure.  Took about five minutes to get this to calm down.

The aroma is surprisingly far more floral more reminiscent of Belgian styles than the piney hops I was expecting.  There's a little bit of fruit in there, but far more orange pulp than lemon or grapefruit rind since I'm getting sweet aromas.  The color is an orange bordering on golden, but it is a little cloudy which gives it a deeper hue.

The flavors in this beer are a little disappointing.  Maybe I was expecting an American IPA based on the bottle description, but this is clearly a Belgian IPA by the use of grain, yeast, and hops.  Flavors are very sweet up front with loads of carbonation.  This really gets too sweet for me and I'm reminded of a carbonated fruit juice.  Otherwise there isn't much at all up front, what few flavors there are feel muffled, or perhaps drowned, in an excess of water.  The taste does an about face towards the middle of the sip moving rather abruptly for the hop finish; too soon I'd say, as the fruity front end really dissipates into a highly watery mixture that doesn't do a good enough job of bolstering up the hops.  The hop finish is strong, but very lopsided since it feels like a thin layer of industrial styled bitterness offering very little in accompanying flavors.

Ultimately, this is far more of a Belgian IPA than an American one, and almost borders on a Saison.  But even after reclassification it doesn't do much for me since the malts don't impress any paticular urgency in their identity.  Somewhat surprising that a Santa Cruz beermaker would choose to go in this direction; with a name like California IPA, I'd expect American IPA flavors. Apologies to the makers, but I just didn't like this one.

California IPA: *1/2

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