I had almost given up on Alesmith's Summer Yulesmith. It is one of the original double IPAs that captivated my attention and palate in the mid-2000s. It was big, sweet and bitter, everything you'd want in a DIPA. But over the past few years, even though I'd mark my calendar for Yulesmith's mid-June release date, I'd lost my affinity for it and other big DIPAs, finding them too cloying, syrupy, and boozy. I almost didn't buy this year's Summer Yulesmith, but thought I'd try it just to write a snarky post on the demise of the DIPA. Well, the joke's on me, as this year's Summer Yulesmith is excellent.
Summer Yulesmith is a sharp-hopped, piney IPA, with a clarity that has been lacking in past years. The thick, syrup taste is gone, replaced by a refreshing bitterness. The alcohol is present from the start, so Yulesmith won't sneak up on you. It's a big beer, and tastes like one. Because this year's Yulesmith lacks the stickiness of the past, it is much easier to drink. I really enjoyed this beer. But I was so sure I was going to not like this beer, I didn't even take a picture. I am guessing Alesmith tweaked this year's Yulesmith. Drinking it in early July means it's still fresh, which may have had something to to with how good I found it.
Alesmith makes two versions of Yulesmith, Summer, which is a DIPA, and Winter, an imperial red ale. I had ceded the winter version as the better of the two, but this year's Summer Yulesmith may make me rethink that.