Sunday, September 30, 2007

Alaskan IPA

I got a pleasant surprise last Friday when I came home from work. Back when I was researching my Alaskan Smoked Porter entry, I called up the brewery and talked with some people who worked there. Not to brag, but they were so impressed with the research I was doing and the amount of effort I put into the entry that they felt that I deserved some sort of prize. I was taken aback, not really expecting anything except information and a "Thanks for your interest," what I usually get from most breweries (if they respond at all). It arrived, overnighted from Juneau to Reno, on Friday. Here were the contents:

  • An Alaskan IPA hat
  • A portfolio filled with reprinted articles and information on every single beer they made
  • A thank-you note
  • A book, Smoked Beers, that was signed by co-owner Geoff Larson (the co-author of the book)
  • Three bottles of Alaskan IPA

I was taken aback again. Alaskan was so kind to provide me information and send me this nice stuff. They clearly didn't have to. Alaskan therefore gets my approval as the coolest brewery I've ever spoken to. They were friendly and laid-back enough to deal with the sometimes-invasive questions from a little blogger from Reno about their beer, and they spoke to me with class and respect. That's enough to get in my good books forever, but the swag didn't hurt either. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.

So, naturally, the IPA I received from them is the beer I tried. I would like to let you know, however, that the fact that I received swag will not influence my review in any way, shape, or form. I don't know when this beer was first brewed, but, like all their beers, the water comes from the Juneau Ice Field and rain, which Juneau receives 90 inches of annually. (Alaskan IPA homepage)

Here are the stats:

Alaskan IPA
BREWERY: Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau, Alaska, USA
CALORIES/SERVING: 210 per 12 oz. bottle
ABV: 6.2%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 13.97° Plato (1057)
MALTS: "two-row and specialty"
HOPS: "European and Pacific Northwest"
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: "grilled prawns, spicy food and as an aperitif"

The IBUs, ABV, original gravity, malts, hops, and foods to pair with came from the Alaskan IPA homepage, and the caloric information came from a document I received from Alaskan via e-mail. I hope to get other information soon from another e-mail/phone call.

Now, my first impression of this beer is: "HOPS!" That assessment came from the smell, with the aroma almost being pure hoppiness, and a STRONG hoppiness at that. The beer was an amber color with a half-bubbly, half-foamy head that was emitting the intense hoppy scent. But I was pleasantly surprised by its taste. While there was a lot of hoppiness to it, it wasn't bitter, and in fact, transitioned to a nice buttery beer taste. The only thing I didn't like about the beer was its stale hoppy aftertaste, which seemed to grow with the beer, but eventually faded away.

When I spoke to Alaskan, they told me that this IPA was for people who don't like traditional IPAs, and I have to say that they're right. Most of the hoppiness is in the aroma, but it still has some hoppy taste to it. Not bad, in my opinion. I still have two more bottles to enjoy, and believe me, I will. You will too if you don't like your overly hopped-up IPA.


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