Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hangar 24 Columbus IPA

They say you can often gauge a brewery by their India Pale Ale, so when Hangar 24 sent me a bunch of their beers to review I of course opted to start with the Columbus IPA. It’s an interesting beer that uses only the Columbus variety of hop in the brew (in addition to five unlisted malts). It’s got the strong bitterness you except from a West Coast IPA, but the balance of something more eastern. I like it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (782) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 3, 2013
I poured a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark hazy amber/orange hue. No carbonation visible, but it does form a large, eggshell colored, frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Surprisingly malty with strong honey-like sweetness and noticeable dank/piney hop character.

Taste: Hangar 24 Columbus IPA is definitely a brew that walks a fine line between single and double IPA. The hops are quite prominent at 77 IBUs and the body is quite strong as well to give it that more energy and attitude than your average IPA. The choice of using only Columbus hops is interesting, if not a bit daring since the hop imparts more raw bitterness than it does flavor. Though there is noticeable earthy/herbal hop flavors here: pine, tree bark, and a hint of garlic or onion (but in that good way).

Let’s not forget the malt side, though. There’s a sweetness to be found here in the form of some honey and caramel lollipop flavors. They stay in the background, mostly, but give the beer a solid backbone to make it well-rounded and versatile. Drink this on its own or with a strong meal and it’ll work well either way.

Drinkability: Though there’s a lot of bitterness and overall body to Hangar 24 Columbus IPA, it’s not a challenge to drink (well maybe to newbies). The mouthfeel is on the thicker side, but it’s quite soft with a smooth texture. The hops do linger, but it’s not nearly as astringent as many other beers of this caliber. At 7% ABV it’s surprisingly light on its toes and won’t wear you down.
 Grade: 8/10

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