Neck-high in IPA: Knee Deep’s Simtra

Knee_Deep_SimtraOn the docket:  22 oz.  bottle of Knee Deep’s Simtra

Aroma:  A beautiful, heady meld of lime, grapefruit and dank pine resin fill out the hop side, with a clean white bread-crust malt presence and just a touch of prickly booze.

Sight:  Largely crystal clear and burnished bronze body showing off subtle No. 2 pencil yellow highlights.  The head wells up and sits around, thick and creamy.  Lacing is big and patchy, though consistent with every sip.  Bubbles purposefully make their way from the bottom of the glass to join their spherical brethren.  A large super-continent of suds covers the surface as the head recedes.

Taste:  The hops are the star of this beer, with much of the nose following through to the palate.  Bright citrus and melon, and a good helping of sappy pine.  There’s a fleeting sweetness from the bready malt.  Boy does that exit quickly, making room for a drying, crisp, bitter finish.  As the beer warms, the alcohol is more apparent, but considering the abv (11.25%) it’s quite smooth and well-integrated.

Feel:  Medium-full, crisp, bitter.  for a high-abv IPA, this one has a considerably smooth and creamy mouthfeel.  Carbonation is enough to lift the weight of the beer off your tongue, but by no means lively.

Overall: Deceptively smooth and easy to drink for a double, or maybe “triple” IPA.  Consider pairing with a Davidoff Millennium Blend cigar.  Well-crafted high abv offering.

Suggestion food pairing:  Creamy white cheddar cheese, lemon-pepper chicken, salt-cured ham and other charcuterie, messy sauce-glazed barbecue ribs

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Hop’solute Certainty: Fegley’s “TIPA”

On the docket:  Allentown Brew Work’s Hop’solutely

Poured into:  12 oz. draft offering at the bar/brewery poured into an ABW snifter

S:  Crystal clear burnished orange/amber body under a beige head that quickly recedes into a soapy island on top.

A:  I got quite a few tropical aromas including mango, guava, melon (my wife said grapefruit) plus a hint of heat and a caramel and toffee sweetness.  This brute is also dry-hopped with Amarillo and Chinook hops, what a treat to the nose.

T:  Wow!  An aggressive bitter hop assault of pine and dryness, and oh… did I say bitter?  I’ll chalk this up to the Cascade, CTZ, Summit, Amarillo, and Chinook hop bill.  After your senses recover, you can also get a nice sweet caramel to counter the hops from the Caramel malt, and even a touch of fruitcake-y sweetness.

F:  Oily, slick, and coating.  There’s a prickly carbonation that helps to scrub the palate, easing you into the next sip of this 11.5% abv behemoth.  It ends with a bone-dry finish that enables you to go back for more.

O:  Crazy, fun, fresh offering at the location.  Drink with care and a smile.  Reminiscent of an American Barleywine or Strong Ale, because technically, there is no such thing as a “triple IPA” and that’s fine by me.  I’ve read other reviews that give this beer such a hard time.  Try it fresh from the tap at the Allentown location, you might think about it differently.

S:  4  A:  4.5  T:  4.25  F:  4  O:  4

Suggested food pairing:  Pasta Primavera, buffalo wings with bleu cheese, carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting