This beer makes me absolutely stupid happy. It causes me to do weird things like mug for the camera:
Isn’t that beer a beautiful, beautiful thing?
Name: American IPA
Origin: Schlafly Beer, St. Louis, MO
Style: Double/Imperial IPA (Not sure if this technically gets classed as an Imperial, but I’m going to go ahead and say yes, yes it is. At least in my world.)
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, OPKS
So. Thanks to getting to spend a Friday afternoon hanging out at Fort Leavenworth and pouring Schlafly beer with one of the reps, I learned bunches of stuff about this beer, namely that Schlafly has been
playing with improving its dry-hopping methods. I then got samples of beer from 5/3 and 5/25, giving me a chance to enjoy spotting the differences. (And then I grabbed one on tap when I found it, figured out by taste that it was a 5/25, and damn near swooned, hence the stupid grin above).
To figure out what you’re drinking, look at the bottom-center bit on the label: Schlafly gives us a bottling date.* I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to bottling dates (unless it’s a beer style that I know has a short shelf life), but it’s helpful with this beer – the 5/3 version is (even using all the same ingredients) a different beer than the later date, though both versions are pretty fantastic.
The 5/3 batch has a light hop nose, mostly grapefruit and orange with a hint of honeyed malty sweetness. It’s a deceptively light scent.
The taste, it is not so light.
There’s a huge hop bite right in the front, loaded with citrus rind and pine resin flavors, backed up by honeyed biscuit flavors and the slightest touch of yeast. It’s medium-bodied with a lovely foamy mouthfeel. The aftertaste is really bitter – almost citrus pith – and really intense. It builds on itself, too – the more I drank, the more pine resin I noticed.
The 5/25 batch is brighter, with a touch more pine in the nose. The citrus comes through as well, bright and very clean.
This batch has a slightly more pronounced malt flavor, but that’s not to say in turn that the hops seem less predominant. It’s that the flavors seem to be integrated more thoroughly, so that the beer loses some of the pithy bitterness and replaces it with a brighter citrus-rind and -juice type of bittersweet.
Both versions are really, really good, but the 5/25 is GLORIOUS. The 5/25 is also (I gather, anyway) the direction they’re going with the beer, so that any date after that should be giving you the same (or even better) experience that I had drinking the 5/25.
Fun note: for an IBU level of 65, this is *not* a tame beer. I would have guessed the IBU level to hover closer to the 80 mark. It’s SUPER hoppy.
I gotta say I love Schlafly right now: they have a great product, but they’re not afraid to tweak it (even mid-season) to make it that much better. I heart them (and goofiness) so much right now that I’ll even pimp their website: this cheeseball blog is their discussion of the AIPA, explaining why it’s “the most patriotic beer in the galaxy.”
*Can I just point out how happy I am that it’s a bottling date and not a “born on” date? “Born on” dates are the stupidest marketing trick for beer I’ve seen in a long time**, because the “born on” date is meaningless. Is it the brewing date? The bottling date? The magical moment during the fermentation process when the alcohol level has become high enough to classify it as beer?
**We won’t go into whichever macroswill it is that advertises itself as “triple hops brewed.” Obviously it is. That’s how you brew most beer. *facepalm*