Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sly Fox Route 113 IPA

Too bad I didn't review this beer 398 episodes ago - the 113 would've synched up perfectly! Anyway, Sly Fox is a brewery out of Pennsylvania that, as far as I know, doesn't generate a whole lot of buzz. I think they should, though, because they've been on board with the canning of craft beer for quite a while now. The "Route 113 IPA" is an eccletic recipe and has the strength of 113 IBUs (done specifically after the highway on which the brewery is located).

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (642) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 2, 2011
I poured a 12oz can into a tumbler.

Appearance: Pure orange color, almost completely clear with slight cloudiness. Plenty of visible carbonation that never dies down. forms a good sized, off-white, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Very malty for an IPA with a rich nose of confectionary sweetness. Caramel, butterscotch and flowers all dominate the nose with a pine sap backbone.

Taste: I wasn’t expecting much from this beer, but I have to admit I was amazed at just how complex and robust it was. The first thing I notice is how rich and sweet the palate is - that’s not usually the first thing you notice about and IPA. It’s pure ice cream sundae topping-like syrup of caramel and some butterscotch. Through the middle the bitterness surges, with a sharp, dry, almost sand-like sensation. The beer is 113 IBUs after all, so this isn’t really surprising. What is surprising is the finish which reverts back to the sweetness with a bitter dark chocolate and slight coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium all around, but plenty of raw energy on the tongue. Hops linger, but so do the sweet malty flavors making for a slightly dry, slightly cloying aftertaste.

Drinkability: As much as I love hoppy beers on their own, some are even better suited with food and I think SlyFox Route 113 IPA absolutely demands to be paired with food. Sure, it’s drinkable as a standalone beer, but the boldness of the palate makes it more than a sipper but far from chuggable. The body is thick but tepid so it goes down fairly smooth, but the hops make their presence known throughout, especially through the middle. The 7% ABV is dead-on in terms of weight and potency - one can of this went straight to my head (hence another reason to pair it with dinner).

Overall, this was an impressively impressive beer, and while there are certainly many superior IPAs out there, you couldn’t go wrong by picking up a few cans of this brew.

Grade: 8/10

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