Friday, August 3, 2012

Ithaca Ground Break

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (704) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 2, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Ithaca tulip glass.

Appearance: Hazy apricot-skin light orange/maize color. Forms a very large, white fluffy head not unlike Duvel. It retains and laces wonderfully.

Smell: Very hoppy for a saison. Flowers predominantly with subtle citrus aroma and a hint of candy.

Taste: I’m not usually a fan of the saison style unless it’s "Americanized" and Ithaca Ground Break is a perfect example of what I mean. Prominent hop character for the style but it still maintains its saison soul with a slightly dry body, subtle black pepper and some orange peel as well. Lightly bitter up front, it soon takes on an almost West Coast IPA palate with lightly sweet orange candy flavors. It gets even sweeter through the middle, becoming very juicy-like but without the stickiness of a more syrupy/high gravity hoppy beer. The classic black pepper pops up right on the finish and complements the hoppy bitterness very well. A very clean aftertaste, but not a refreshing beer outright. This borders on being a Belgian-style IPA rather than an American-style saison, but who am I to split hairs?

Drinkability: One of the reasons Belgian saisons don’t impress me much is because of their low drinkability. I was worried Ithaca Ground Break would have that problem when it formed a huge head, but the body isn’t nearly as effervescent as you’d think. Perfectly medium in terms of body and viscosity and it goes down quite smoothly. The 6% ABV seems a bit high for the beer as it drinks like something much lighter. An ideal beverage for fish, poultry, or cheese pairings.

Grade: 8/10