Monday, February 1, 2016

Hop Warrior Imperial IPA (review)

Beer Review #89

You have to go all the way back to Firehouse Blonde Ale (Review #7) to find my only previous review of a beer from Rooster Fish Brewing. That is a bit surprising since the brewer, based out of Watkins Glen NY is scarcely forty minutes from my home. Today I'm checking out a 22 ounce bottle of their Hop Warrior Imperial IPA, an India Pale Ale weighing in at 8% ABV with a stated IBU of 100. This particular bottle, purchased at The Jolly Farmer, Waverly, was bottled way back in September 2015 (today is Feb 1st, 2016), making it a little old for an IPA according to most beer aficionados, however the price was very reasonable and seems to reflect the appropriate level of discounting.

Hop Warrior Imperial IPA pours an effervescent transparent orange with a large foamy white head that likes to hang around and say hello. Its a good smelling beer too, although the age of the bottle does show. The primary players are citrusy grapefruit hops with hints of pine, but with a substantial amount of malty sweetness coming through the age diminished hop aromas.

As far as flavor (again, because of the age) what must have originally been a sweet malt backbone gains some ground on the usually more prominent hops. By most accounts, its still a fairly bitter beer, but because of the reduced hop freshness its slid somewhat toward the realm of a bready Barleywine, albeit with a lighter, more refreshing mouth-feel.

None of this is to suggest that, even a few months too old, this is a bad beer. All of the elements seem in place for must have been a very decent fresh IP. The story goes that India Pale Ales were originally brewed, loaded with bitter, naturally anti-microbial hops to get shipments of beer to British troops in India, a six month journey, unspoiled. Thanks to the aggressive nature of hops bred in North America in recent decades, expectations for what an IPA should taste like have changed to become more bitter and aromatic, where the original British versions were far more mild. I'd like to think that this age-diminished bottle of Rooster Fish Hop Warrior Imperial IPAwhich plays out a bit more like a standard IPA, accidentally brings me a bit closer to those old barrels rolling on to British occupied piers.

Musical Pairing: Sitra Ahra by Therion

 Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club (Sayre)
The Jolly Farmer, Waverly (Waverly)
Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
River Barge Brewing (Wyalusing)
Waverly Discount Beverage (Waverly)
Soprano's Italian Market (Waverly)
The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)

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