Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ithaca Flower Power IPA


4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (599) - Albany, USA - MAY 11, 2010

The hop is often referred to as a "flower" by beer geeks, although the actual hop plant doesn’t look like your typical backyard flower, it’s cone-shaped. Beers made with a lot of hop character are often described as having a citrus or pine aroma and flavor but there are a few that could best be described as flowery. The Ithaca Brewing Co. decided to take that theme and run with it with their Flower Power India Pale Ale. This is a beer that is pure hops through and through, but it doesn’t go overboard in any aspect. It’s not quite among the absolute best of the best, but it’s tasty and highly drinkable.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

I poured a 12oz bottle in a tumbler. Right away Flower Power was a very appealing beer with a standard orange color, but just the slightest bit hazy. It formed a generous, frothy, almost marshmallow-like head which never dissipated and left generous lacing all the way down the glass.

The aroma was exactly what the name indicates: floral. It’s sweet and inviting but also noticeably citrusy (orange) with a distinct bitterness in the nose as well. I love IPAs that smell this good because they cry out to be drank.

TASTE

I’ve never tasted a flower but if I did I’d imagine Ithaca Flower Power IPA is probably what they would taste like. With a refreshing floral and slight citrus taste, this is a beer with a delectable, satisfying palate. Up front and in the middle I get an orange juice-like flavor: it’s a little tart but also thick and soft. As the beer finishes there is a strong hop bite and a rich piney aftertaste. It’s rare an IPA has all three flavors of citrus, floral and pine - but that just goes to show the craftsmanship of Flower Power.

The only caveat to this beer is the dryness on the end seems to be a bit too dry. It’s got the bitterness I expect from an IPA, but the pure arid dryness is a little stronger than I prefer. There’s also a honey-like sweetness that is present in the aftertaste. It’s a lighter, candy-like sweetness, which complements the dry finish, but I think a richer, more caramel-like sweetness would have rounded out the palate perfectly. Still, it’s a really tasty beer with a lot to like.

DRINKABILITY

Some beers are so light-bodied they can be slugged down regardless of how they taste, others are so robust they can only be sipped, but Ithaca Flower Power falls somewhere in between. This beer might be the epitome of a medium-bodied beer. Sure the palate is robust, but the palette itself is smooth and the body has the perfect weight that it’s not too heavy.

At 75 IBUs and 7.5% ABV, Flower Power IPA is in that weird void between standard and imperial beers. It would pair easily with a spicy dish, but I think it’s best enjoyed on its own. I’m not quite sure I would session this, but it’s hard to stop at just one.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As much I love citrusy, juicy IPAs, a beer like Ithaca Flower Power IPA reminds me how enjoyable a straight-up floral beer can be. It’s not a perfect beer, but it’s damn close.

Grade: 9/10