Monday, May 10, 2010

Green Flash West Coast IPA

Green Flash's West Coast I.P.A. is a hop lover's Nirvana.  When you get a taste for hops, you'll want to keep graduating up the hop scale, seeking out the bitterest beers you can find.  To me, West Coast I.P.A. is at the top of the hop scale.  There are beers with higher IBUs (International Bittering Units) than West Coast IPA, but few have its sharp bitterness that's so enjoyable in an IPA.   Many high IBU beers, like double IPAs along with Ballast Point's Tongue Buckler Imperial Red Ale, which clocks in near 100 IBUs, have their bitterness muted by their necessary sweetness, which is needed to balance these hop monsters.  Because of "imperial" IPAs' cloying characteristics, I find traditional IPAs to have more intense bitterness and distinct hop profiles, as the hops are not competing as much with the malts and sugars.

The first few times I tried West Coast I.P.A. I did not like it.  I thought it unbalanced, and way too bitter.  I avoided it for about two years, until I decided to give it another try earlier this year.  I was amazed by how much I liked West Coast IPA, and have come to love this beer.  My IPA palate has evolved and I can now appreciate West Coast's piercing bitterness.   Like the Stone IPA, it falls in to the citrus side of the citrus/pine IPA flavor profile, but it is much more biting than its North San Diego County neighbor.  The hop bitterness hits you upfront and stays well past the finish.  There are enough malts and sugars to keep West Coast balanced enough to stay drinkable, but they are clearly secondary to the hops.  This beer is for the advanced hop aficionado, and not for the faint of tongue.  I am not ready to say West Coast is my favorite IPA, but it's not far from top.


BreworFerment said...

Well I might just have to give this one a try again. I reviewed it for my site
and said pretty much exactly what you commented on. BITTER! and I love hops.

Natalie said...

This is my FAVORITE IPA.