Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saranac IPA (2012)

Saranac IPA is exactly what it should be: a by-the-book India Pale Ale for a fairly mainstream audience. There’s no bells and whistles or hype with this beer. It’s a rather inconspicuous IPA that could be sitting on the shelf at a supermarket, gas station or even craft beer store near you. You get plenty of hoppy bitterness that’s well balanced and easily drinkable. Is it remarkable? No. Is it good? Yes.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (760) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 25, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Saranac shaker glass.

Appearance: Amber hue, crystal clear, some carbonation visible. Forms an average size, white, foamy head which leaves plenty of lacing on the glass and never evaporates completely.

Smell: Hop flowers; pale malt sweetness; plus a hint of pine needles.

Taste: Mild bitterness and slight malty sweetness opens the palate. It’s a sweet honey-like taste that’s mild for the style, but at the same time still noticeable. There’s a somewhat sharp, dry bitterness from start to finish. Pine flavor without any resin or sticky character is detectable as well. The palate finishes with a quick, strong hop bite that imparts a subtle citrusy component. There’s a bit of a starchy aftertaste that seems to be the logical conclusion of the palate.

What’s interesting about Saranac IPA is that it’s a simple recipe: one malt variety (North American Two-Row) and one hop variety (Cascade). That probably explains the rather simplistic and somewhat repetitive palate. This brew probably won’t amaze a lot of craft beer drinkers, but it’ll still be at least satisfying. There’s no off flavors at all, and the hop character and balanced palate make it interesting to the tongue. I like it.

Drinkability: At "only" 5.8% ABV, Saranac IPA is actually a bit small for the style. That’s okay because its quaffability is nice. A perfectly medium body all around that’s easy to get down in sips or gulps. Though the aftertaste is a bit dry and pasty, it’s par for the course. A good beer for burgers and football.
 Grade: 7/10