Appearance: Hazy orange hue with some carbonation visible. Forms a large, beige, frothy head which retains and laces wonderfully.
Smell: Pure resin and pine sap with slight "cat pee" acidity. Maybe even some chocolate in the nose. Odd, but it works.
Taste: Beers that throw me for a loop are usually the odd brews from big name breweries. What’s interesting and commendable about Wolaver’s India Pale Ale is that it’s a very unique beer just hiding in a supermarket mix pack. It’s not quite piney, but it definitely not citrusy, either. I swear I detect chocolate as well. Considering this is a certified organic beer that’s unfiltered and unpasteurized - it’s East Coast IPA in its rawest form.
The palate begins with a huge resin flavor of strong, rich bitterness. Pine, sap, and syrup really doesn’t describe it accurately, as it’s the kind of resin quality you would get in a wet hop IPA (this beer is not one of them, as far as I can tell). There’s a rich sweetness riding shotgun the entire time, like butterscotch or caramel, maybe even honey. There seems to be a deliberate astringency, especially in the nose, which translates well into the palate. Kind of like old orange juice but without the vinegary taste. And throughout the back end I detect a confectionary sweetness - much like a baker’s chocolate, but only for a moment. The finish brings in a strong hop bite seemingly out of nowhere, but just as quick as it appears, it’s gone. Quite an interesting, surprising, and delectable palate.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied throughout, although not energetic or intense in the mouth. Quite smooth and velvety for an IPA. Leaves dry hoppy aftertaste, but it’s easily tolerable.
Drinkability: Despite the high bitterness, the acidity, and astringent qualities, Wolaver’s IPA is amazingly drinkable. The mouthfeel is very easy and it goes down very smooth with no carbonation friction. The 6.5% ABV is completely utilized here as the palate certainly doesn’t seem lightweight, yet there’s nothing about it that borders on big and bulky. A great beer to pair with spicy food, but fun enough to drink on its own, too.