Sixpoint is a Brooklyn-based brewery that has been generating A LOT of buzz in the Mid-Atlantic craft beer scene. I've only been able to get their stuff at beer festivals. Until recently, none of their beers have been available on draft or in stores here in Albany. Well we finally get a few of their beers here now, and I was happy to review their famous Bengali Tiger - it's an IPA brewed in the East Coast style. Let's see how good of an example it is....
4.1AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Appearance: Dark orange/burnt umber color. Mostly transparent, but some hop haze to it with some carbonation visible. Forms a large, fluffy, frothy, off-white head which retains and laces extremely well (which is how the beer got its name).
Smell: Intense, rich pine tree grove, with slightly buttery notes and floral perfumey aromas as well.
Taste: When I think of what an "East Coast IPA" might taste like, Bengali Tiger’s palate is exactly what I envision. Immediate hop bitterness as soon as it touches the tongue. Not a dry, chalky bitterness but more of a richer, more refined bitterness. The second half is almost another beer entirely with a sweet, juice-like taste of tropical fruits - guava, kiwi, papaya and mango. Definitely not citrusy - its entirely too rich and sweet to carry the tartness of grapefruit.
This is a very delectable palate, and perfectly balanced, too. It satisfies on its own, but it actually has a "performance value" when paired with a meal. The hop bitterness is enough to compliment food, but without a distracting or lingering aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Soft, thick and gentle with little noticeable carbonation. Bitter throughout with lingering, but easily tolerable hop aftertaste that isn’t drying.
Drinkability: While not refreshing per se, Bengali Tiger is a fun and easy beer to drink mostly because of how well it performs. The delicious palate, low carbonation and soft mouthfeel make this a very smooth beer going down. The 6.4% ABV is actually surprisingly low as it has the energy level of something much stronger, but not the bulkiness.
Overall, this is one of the best examples of an IPA (especially of the East Coast variety), and a fun, easy beer to drink.