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