Here’s a beer I first tasted on tap in fall at the Chelsea Pub and which I wanted to give another whirl from the bottle this time. The other reason I pulled this tonight is because it is not coincidentally the first beer I recognized as being sur lies – and whence I first questioned “what does that mean?” (see previous post for more on sur lies….)
Right off the bat, this is a beautiful pour, especially one that is sur lies … it has a beautiful dark amber from top of glass to dark gold at the bottom and for a beer that is ostensibly ‘unfiltered’ it is very clean.
Out of the bottle, the carbonation is very very quiet which leaves you to think that this has truly fermented in the bottle like a good cask conditioned bitter. What struck me though, wasn’t the negligible head, but rather the large bubbles that clung big and tenaciously to the side of the glass. These eventually all disappeared leaving a beautiful profile, but I don’t think I’ve seen this before.
The mouth feel is perfect in my opinion, especially for a good bitter IPA. The carbonation, tight and present, tingles the palette and prepares it for those delicious bitter hops that leaves a great American IPA taste before closing with some diacetyl creaminess.
There is a nice bit of yeast that escapes the neck when the cap is tossed and the aroma after that is all west coast goodness with some citrus (Orange? Mandarin? Tangerine?) and a bit of grassiness to round it out. The taste is totally refreshing though I would say it is a bit light upfront and that first taste doesn’t really wow. However, the mid taste and endings are quite grand and subsequent tastes just leave a great roundness that keeps the tastes coming and coming. There is a little bit of a that hoppy sourness to the start, some nuttiness in the middle, and cleansing bitter citrus peel to finish — and a very nice finish it is, indeed. It’s not an overly complicated set of tastes and I’d say it is more “structured” than a layered beer. Some might challenge the beer because of this but I personally like it because the beer master has really let the few hops that in this blend speak their story – nothing fancy, but compelling nonetheless – like a prosciutto wrapped piece of cantaloupe. Who can argue with that?
Stats: IPA. 5.5% ABV. Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
Colour: Amber to dark Amber, sur lies
Mouth Feel: Light but balanced carbonation, creamy aftertaste