Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saranac White IPA

It's been a very long time since I reviewed a Saranac beer by itself, so I thought they were long overdue. This brewery is constantly putting out new beers and since they have a pretty interesting concept with their White IPA - a cross between a witbier and an American IPA - I thought it was about time to spotlight one of their beers for an entire episode.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (663) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 12, 2012
Hybrid beer styles are all the rage these days, but you wouldn’t expect to see a very traditional brewery like Saranac delve into them. That is, until now with their "White IPA" - a combination of a traditional American IPA and a witbier (but, I assume, without the Belgian yeast). Not quite as mind-blowing as it sounds, but nothing wrong with the beer, either.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tumbler.

Appearance: Pale orange hue with noticeable sediment of seed-like white gobs suspended in the body. Forms a small, bright white, foamy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Mild orange juice notes plus mild spice notes.

Taste: Strong bitterness right from the get-go, which is surprising for a Saranac brew. Sharp, dry bitterness is present throughout the whole palate, although genuine hop tastes doesn’t really appear until the second half. Orange flavors are quite noticeable, although they are more tart and acidic than you normally expect from an American IPA. This is likely due to the addition of orange peel and coriander - hence the name "White IPA."

This is an interesting and original palate to be sure, although it’s not the most delectable brew ever concocted. The Citra hops impart some light lemon and orange citrus tartness, but nothing in the sweeter, more juicy and refreshing flavors you might find in a west coast IPA. The spiciness helps with the hop bite on the second half - it’s a beer that will wake your mouth up for sure.

Drinkability: I was quite surprised by the mouthfeel to Saranac White IPA. It’s got a light to medium body, but with plenty of energy throughout. Very fine carbonation makes it lively, but smooth. There’s a dry, pasty, almost starchy aftertaste, but it is short lived. Not that I would consider this a refreshing beer, though. At 6% ABV it’s right where it should be - stronger than most beers offered by this brewery, but nothing even approaching imperial territory. An ideal choice for spring and summer picnics and BBQs.


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