"How could I pass by a beer advertised with a fossil?"
September 8, 2014 8:13 PM   Subscribe

"Tasting notes: As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I'm accustomed to IPAs so hoppy that they attempt to kick your teeth out on the first sip, and keep on fighting for the rest of the drink. In contrast, the Icky IPA is refreshingly crisp with a sly nudge of hops underlain with a tongue-twist of citrus. This is a pale ale to sip and savour, not a masochistic endurance contest with barely-concealed whimpering winces. Apparently I'm not the only one who appreciates the relative gentleness of this IPA: the Icky is their best-selling beer."

via the Twitter feeds of @paleo_art and (MeFi's own) @brundlefly
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (45 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Apparently I'm not the only one who appreciates the relative gentleness of this IPA: the Icky is their best-selling beer.

Imagine if only anyone on the West Coast would experiment with some kind of "non-IPA" beer.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:25 PM on September 8, 2014 [16 favorites]


I thought the West Coast moved on to Wild versions of everything. (Pacific Northwest, at least. California may still be stuck on hop overload)

I'll have to see if I can find this, it sounds quite tasty.
posted by CrystalDave at 8:28 PM on September 8, 2014


I'm sick to death of hops and would love to see the pendulum swing back to malt (or just away from hops)...here's hoping the hipsters will realize they're into beers that aren't so hoppy (you probably haven't heard of them, they're pretty obscure).
posted by uosuaq at 8:31 PM on September 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm as excited about beer as the next person, probably more so, but turtles dressed as dinosaurs!
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:33 PM on September 8, 2014


I've been digging on the Founder's All-Day IPA lately. It less aggressive than but just as zingy as a Racer 5. See also: Peak Organic IPA.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:35 PM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thank you to whoever wrote this. You know what I like? Occidental Brewing Company's Kolsch. What a perfect beer.
posted by Nevin at 8:37 PM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


uosuaq: "here's hoping the hipsters will realize they're into beers that aren't so hoppy (you probably haven't heard of them, they're pretty obscure)."

But they'd lose all their hopster credibility!
posted by pwnguin at 8:39 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to try the Sour Icky.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:47 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Brew with a story behind each beer. Try to make the beer come alive with some tie to something that is as real as the beer that you produce.

Great idea. One time, that story was Highlander 2, and we called it "Zeist Ale."

I'm so sorry.
posted by asperity at 8:47 PM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


>2014
>releasing another IPA

top kek
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:50 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll take a Hermann's Straight-Laced IPA over Founder's any day. I don't know where they sourced the Savinjski Golding hops from exactly, but the delicate yet overpowering combination of citrus, pine, melon, and raccoon musk is as enchanting as anything I've tasted since Skinny Jeans stopped making Clever Name Pale Ale.
posted by uosuaq at 8:53 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm a total hop-head and I agree that it would be beneficial for the pendulum to swing back toward malt.
There are several "IPAs" I've tasted lately, here in Seattle, that I suspect are over-hopped in order to mask incompetence.
* sour milk face *

I certainly welcome something different.
posted by Pudhoho at 8:53 PM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Last beer I had was a couple of sixies of Obsidian on Saturday, it made me fart all day Sunday and by the third bottle I might as well have been drinking something cheaper, like Cooper's Best Extra Stout, since any difference in taste would by then have been indiscernible, but y'know, it was pretty good.

Back on keto this week though, so I can only drink hard liquor. Sad story.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:58 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hope the pendulum swings back around soon. I'm a fan of stouts and Belgians, and going to parties where the only non-IPAs were Miller Light (aside from what I brought) has been a drag. I had a Belgian Fest at my place earlier this year to combat this hoppy hegemony.
posted by spaltavian at 9:03 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Belgian-style beers aren't my favorite - I'm not a huge fan of sweet fruit flavors in my pint - but it's such a nice change from HOP ALL THE BEERS (including non-IPA's) that I welcome it once in a while.

I moved from Asheville, NC to the PNW right about the tine the Hop Wars geared up, and O how I miss those bygone rich malty brews!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:19 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Big Time Brewery, located in the University District in Seattle, had a master brewer named Kevin Forhan.
He brewed one of the tastiest, best-balanced IPA I've ever drunk.
I had the opportunity to enquire which was best for a novice home brewer. He strongly suggested beginning with a stout because, "It's almost impossible for anything to go wrong if you follow the instructions."
He also suggested brewing multiple batches of stout, experimenting, before attempting to move on.

I'd like to know where he wound up because every single of his brews were absolutely delicious.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:19 PM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I got in trouble for posting this in the last MeFi beer thread, but Against Hoppy Beer is worth reading on this topic. I believe over-hopped beer is a similar phenomenon to over-oaked California chardonnay. I'm not a fan of IPA and am always glad to drink something else.
posted by Nelson at 9:39 PM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd be delirious with thirst if someone in Seattle brewed something else that actually tasted good.
I dunno, maybe I'm visiting the wrong places.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:42 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like hops and I've always gravitated towards IPAs, but yeah, the hopheads seem to be in charge at many microbreweries these days. I tried some IPAs from Denver / Boulder this spring and found them aggressive to downright undrinkable because HOPSHOPSHOPS. Imagine a dollop of Herbal Essence, Glade or, even worse, Earl Grey stirred into a perfectly nice ale. Ick.

(Not picking on Colorado because, God knows, I'm seeing the same trend in Toronto, but the glass of carbonated water infused with potpourri that I had my last day there still haunts my palate.)
posted by maudlin at 10:29 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll take a Hermann's Straight-Laced IPA over Founder's any day. I don't know where they sourced the Savinjski Golding hops from exactly, but the delicate yet overpowering combination of citrus, pine, melon, and raccoon musk is as enchanting as anything I've tasted since Skinny Jeans stopped making Clever Name Pale Ale.

I can't tell if you are making fun of hipsters/beer nerds or talking about real things, and I am a beer drinker who lives in Austin.
posted by ill3 at 10:59 PM on September 8, 2014 [8 favorites]


Pudhoho: Kevin went to the The Ram at Northgate after a stint at Elysian Fields, I believe.

The Big Time continues to brew lots of tasty stuff, years later. (At the risk of starting another contentious beer-trend debate, I'm excited for the annual return of the Hopgoblin pumpkin ale.)
posted by lantius at 11:08 PM on September 8, 2014


I thought this was an extraordinary piece that had a number of elements that made it noteworthy and unique: besides the dinosaur-fan angle, the writing was very good; the photos were also very good and you get a fair few; there's a very interesting background regarding the Brewmaster, Young (section following "The Beginning of the Brew:"); and there's historical and geographical ("geomorphic") information about the state of Nevada. To top it all off, there are numerous links which make it a denser piece, if you follow the links and read those as well.

Thanks again to brundlefly - I would've never come across this piece nor had the pleasure or reading it otherwise.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:19 PM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are several "IPAs" I've tasted lately, here in Seattle, that I suspect are over-hopped in order to mask incompetence.

I've totally made this point before. I think you're absolutely right, especially when some of the really face melting but otherwise meh IPAs i've tried.

I really really wish the pendulum would swing somewhere it hasn't gone on the west coast yet. Like maybe sour ales?

I'd be delirious with thirst if someone in Seattle brewed something else that actually tasted good.

I made a list in a recent thread, but my #1 would be two beers day hike. Big time's SSA would also be on the list. It's like, exactly what i've wanted to find as far as "beer to sip on all night at a party" goes. If it wasn't for the fact that i get cheap georgetown kegs, it would be the only thing i'd ever buy as a keg for a party.

Elysian split shot, pikes "monks uncle", and fremont breweries dark star. Also at fremont, their summer ale and their rotating "wonderbeers".

I've honestly been consistently impressed with big time too. Everything they sell at least tastes good, and sometimes it's actually great. I would say the same about fremont's everything-besides-their-ipa and their "universale", which both basically just taste like generic meh IPA to me.

But really, two beers day hike. The first time i had it a friend just passed me a can and i cracked it and took a sip without even really looking. I totally did a double take and flipped the can around in my hand going "holy shit this is GREAT" out loud. Best new-to-me local beer i've tried in at least 2-3 years no contest.


And yea, i feel like a dick, but every time someone goes "oh have you tried this beer?" and it's a seattle IPA i immediately lose interest. It's like the scene kid music in the late 2000s of beers, at this point. I've had good ipa, i've had bad ipa, i've had generic ipa and i've had meh ipa. I've had ipa that was really, really good and made me acknowledge that it can be very good when done right... i'm just completely tired of it, and i feel like the fad has burned itself out.
posted by emptythought at 11:35 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Seattle is great for getting beers from elsewhere, but not really notable for beers produced here. The best Washington breweries I've found so far:
* Two Beers - Fall Line in particular is really good, and while it's an IPA, Ascension is *really* smooth
* Black Raven - Really new, but they're finding their feet. They have a saison that I've loved for the summer
* No-Li - Wrecking Ball is a phenomenal Imperial Stout, and they've been playing with some single-hop IPAs that are interesting for being really mellow and allowing whichever strain they're showing off to really come out

This has been a really good summer for saisons as a way of getting away from IPAs, and I'm hoping to see more places pick up wilds. It's tough for new breweries to get into those, but when they do, it's really interesting. My favorite recent find on that front has been a Passionfruit Sour out of Breakside.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:58 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it says "double" or "triple" in the name I give it a miss, but otherwise I love a good IPA or pale ale. Malls doesn't do anything for me. If the pendulum swings I'm ok with that, because by now there are tons of amazing IPAs for me to enjoy, and someone else may as well have something to savor.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:01 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Imagine if only anyone on the West Coast would experiment with some kind of "non-IPA" beer.

Well I hope you like undrinkable sour beers or don't live near NorCal. Fortunately down south the trend seems to be going toward session pale ales and lagers. Trust me. Just wait it out, by 2016 every brewery in SoCal will have traded at least two hop monsters for BBQ beers (and I can't wait)
posted by thedaniel at 12:04 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, I remember accidentally ending up at Great Basin for World Cup and being surprised that their signature IPA didn't taste like an IPA to me.
posted by thedaniel at 12:07 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Best beer I ever* tasted was a saison in Shanghai (at Boxing Cat Brewery). Just a seasonal thing, pretty sure they don't bottle their stuff there...but HOLY DAMN that was a fine fine summer brew. My goodness.


*Well...okay maybe Left Hand's nitro stout is still in the running for that spot
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:41 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the tip, lantius.
I enjoyed drinking Kevin's excellent beers and I was impressed with his enthusiasm for sharing his expert knowledge.

Time to visit The Ram.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:45 AM on September 9, 2014


I should prolly pay a visit to Big Time, after a long absence. Excellent beer and food.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:46 AM on September 9, 2014


Here's the thing...Almost all standard styles of beer/ale have some amount of hops in the recipe. It's what helps to round-out the flavor. And a traditional IPA should not be so choked full of hops that it's like drinking a pine tree. Personally, I avoid any beer that advertises itself as a hop-monster or some such.

Any damned fool can brew a beer that over-emphasizes one ingredient over the others, especially hops. There's simply no glory or craft in brewing a bottle full of hops. There are plentiful well-crafted and balanced IPAs on the market that do the style well. It's a shame that the hop-monsters have over-shadowed and re-defined the IPA style in the US.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:59 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


> I moved from Asheville, NC to the PNW right about the tine the Hop Wars geared up, and O how I miss those bygone rich malty brews!

If you're ever back in Asheville, try a Highlander St. Terese PA. It's hoppy, but it's also malty. It walks the balance perfectly. (The Kashmir is yer usual overhopped IPA; good as IPAs go, but not nearly as special. Speaking as somebody who will almost always gravitate towards the IPA rather than the pale or porter.)

> There are several "IPAs" I've tasted lately, here in Seattle, that I suspect are over-hopped in order to mask incompetence.

That might be true, but it's a weird way to go about it. The goal of overhopping is to get an amazingly complex fruity, bitter carnival of flavors filling your mouth, and malt balance be damned. Do it wrong, and it's like drinking carbonated metal.

When I'm in a brewpub and all they offer are dark, heavy beers and novelty brews, and talk up how extreme or alcoholic they are, I see a telling sign that the brewmaster isn't skilled. Any brewpub should be able to offer a light colored, lightly flavored staple beer that also tastes good. If you can't master the fundamentals you'll never have proper control over the fancy styles, and it's even possible that you don't know how to taste what you're making.
posted by ardgedee at 5:02 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Perhaps we can finally see the venerable Porter rise to its deserved popularity. A dark, malty ale with a complex yet mellow flavor that's rich and tasty without being as thick or heavy as a Stout? Why oh why is this style so underrepresented?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:17 AM on September 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


And anyway, Dogfish Head said everything that needs to be said about super-hoppy ales way back in the dark ages of 2001, when they introduced the (effing delicious) 90 Minute IPA.

Here's the thing, though; even back then, when I was just getting into beers in general, it was obvious that the 90 Minute was an "occasional" beer. It was my very favorite for a long time and still one of my all-time faves, but I'd never drink more than one in a sitting and I don't want one every day. 9% abv and a flavor that's as bitter as a grapefruit peel is just not something I want all the time, you know?

Super intense IPAs are an experience to drink, and that's not usually what I want. Usually I want my beer to accompany whatever experience I am having, not to be the experience itself. And besides, there's not that much difference from one double/imperial/super/hyper/ultra/mega-IPA to the next. I mean there's some difference obviously, but all beers taste kinda similar after being infused with a ludicrous amount of hops. A nice "regular" IPA is a bit easier to drink and the more balanced flavor profile leaves more room for individuality, but they're still kinda intense and they're still just one style of beer out of hundreds.

The craft beer revolution was supposed to be about variety and originality. I've not had trouble finding non-IPA beers to drink down here in Louisiana, but if brewers elsewhere really are all doing the same thing and releasing beers that, however good they may (or may not) be, are essentially undrinkable without girding of loins and steeling of resolve, then they're doing it wrong. One puckery hops-face is much like another.

I find this a bit mystifying, since as I said this genre of beer was essentially perfected thirteen years ago now.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:40 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


there's a very interesting background regarding the Brewmaster, Young (section following "The Beginning of the Brew:")

My favorite (non-ichthyosaur) part of the piece was when Young was talking about having to recruit investors with samples of the beer because no bank would give him a loan. It's an interesting contrast to what I see going on now, where it seems like there's a new brewery in Denver opening every week.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:04 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Two days ago I was on a panel of three judges who were evaluating the best IPAs submitted in the 2014 Maryland Comptroller's Cup (link currently goes to the 2013 results). The winning beers had bountiful flavor and aroma that comes from huge hop additions late in the boil and as dry hops, not just bitterness (which does not stand well without balancing malt flavor).

I'm also a homebrewer and I know that the amount of hops required to get that saturated hop character makes doing so quite expensive. Commercial brewers are aware of this of course, and I'm sure that several have decided it isn't worth adding many times the dollar value of hops as in a decent IPA in order to make a great IPA that might bring in just a little more money.
posted by exogenous at 7:54 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


it seems like there's a new brewery in Denver opening every week.

Seems like, nothing. The state got 56 new breweries last year.
posted by asperity at 9:29 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wish they'd make root beer beer. That would rock my world.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 AM on September 9, 2014


Sorry, PNW fans, but the best pale ale I've come across is a local Twin Cities' brew by Summit called Extra Pale Ale. I try to sample what the locals in every area feel is their best shot, and it kicks the shit out of anything I've tasted so far (but, sad to say, I haven't tasted every one).
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:01 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


You mean like this?
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:32 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


IMO hops are like autotune. Used everywhere, and I understand the need, but if I notice it, then it's too much.

Also, for Nutmeggers, CT Museum Quest's Stephen Wood has really gotten into reviewing the CT brewing scene.
posted by kurumi at 11:40 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've seen sprecher's online, but never in a store, at least not in New York.
posted by jonmc at 12:34 PM on September 9, 2014


My favorite recent find on that front has been a Passionfruit Sour out of Breakside.

Hah! my partner just excitedly brought a bottle of this home a couple weeks ago, and brought me to a bar that had it on tap yesterday.

It is really quite good... and it's amusing that it was the only beer even remotely like that the bar even had.

Good stuff though, for sure. Also tried this while i was there and was fairly impressed.
posted by emptythought at 3:03 PM on September 9, 2014


Perhaps we can finally see the venerable Porter rise to its deserved popularity. A dark, malty ale with a complex yet mellow flavor that's rich and tasty without being as thick or heavy as a Stout? Why oh why is this style so underrepresented?

Convince enough brewers that they don't need to burn the grains to get some flavour into their porters and you might have something.

Why is there so little appreciation for a well-constructed, balanced beer in craft brew circles? I don't get why someone searches out the peatiest single malt ever distilled when there is Macallan to be drunk and I don't understand the need to brew a 100+ IBU beer.

WA beer: I'll take Old Schoolyard brewery with Uncle Big's Brown, they brew tasty beer.
posted by N-stoff at 10:38 PM on September 9, 2014


Find me a brewery that *only* produces over-hopped IPAs. I'm not sure there is one.

The disgust people have with over-hopped IPAs seems to be largely disgust with the people who like over-hopped IPAs, or rather the people that love to talk about over-hopped IPAs.

Tell these people to shut up and order the tasty beer you want. There has never been a time when such a variety of delicious beers are available.

Of all of the shit things that are happening in the world, lack of beer choice isn't one of them. And these asshole hipsters and their annoying love of hops is partially to blame for this embarrassment of riches.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


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