Friday, July 21, 2017

AleSmith's Summer Double IPA

I have not had AleSmith's Double IPA in a few years, since before it changed its name from Summer Yulesmith.  Drinking it recently, I see it as an example of just how IPAs and double IPAs have shifted from heavy, sweet, and alcoholic beers, to lighter, citrus-centric beers without the boozy heat.  Double IPA takes me back to the mid-2000s when robust double IPAs filled my beer fridge and brewers embraced the virtues of malt to offset their gratuitous hops, and when the taste of pine in an IPA was common not a rarity.

AleSmith's Double IPA is a big imperial IPA.  I consider it one of my benchmark double IPAs, thick and swampy, a prototype of today's dank beers. But Double IPA is too bitter, too malt heavy, too sweet, and too lacking in citrus to confuse it with new style dank beers.  Double IPA reeks pine.  It is almost like drinking pine sap.  To match Double IPA's coniferous forest of hops, AleSmith loads up on malt, which brings in heft and a sweetness that plays off the beer's bitterness.  All this is wrapped in a warm, pervasive layer of alcohol.  The abv is "only" 8.5%, but tastes higher.  The short summation for Double IPA:  It is one heck of a beer.

I am glad Alesmith has not reformulated Double IPA, even though it has proved itself a master the new hop-centric style of beers with its .395 Pale Ale.  I am no crank that never wants change, I love new style IPAs and I'd welcome a new style double IPA from AleSmith.  But it is nice to go back to an old favorite, too.

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