Friday, February 8, 2013

Surly Abrasive

I like IPAs with appropriate names and Surly Abrasive is a great example of why. Not quite a textbook example of either a West Coast or East Coast double IPA, but a big beer that’s relentless in its bitterness, but still manages to be easy drinking and satisfying.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (808) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 8, 2013
I poured a 16oz can into a goblet.

Appearance: Hazy, translucent gold. Forms a large, ivory, frothy head which retains and laces excellently.

Smell: Light, clean, tropical fruit notes at first, but upon closer inspection there’s a strong earthy/herbal scent of resin and pine.

Taste: If you want hops you definitely get them with Surly Abrasive. They’re here from the moment it hits your tongue until long after the swig is completed. Though the aroma is clean and fruity, the actual flavor is dank and resinous. Intense bitterness envelopes the palate with an almost pine-sap like flavor and character. There’s definitely orange citrus in the palate here as well, but it’s closer to juice concentrate or syrup than any kind of light, crisp, refreshing taste. What’s interesting is that it’s never really all that sweet and certainly not cloying. I get some subtle garlic or dry spice flavors on the backend, almost a bit of "locker room" funky taste as well which imparts a hint of candy tartness.

It’s a delicious tasting beer for sure, but not quite something I’d award my highest grade to because it’s so unrelenting in its delivery and the flavors that are here, though great, could probably be even better. If I could get this on a regular basis I would, though.

Drinkability: While Surly Abrasive may be one of the overtly bitter beers I’ve ever had, what really makes it memorable is its easy drinkability. The mouthfeel is fairly soft, but lively, with a smooth texture and accompanying finish. There’s no challenge to get this beer down at all despite the fact it’s pretty hefty at 9% ABV. Still, the alcohol is well masked as I don’t smell or taste it at all. The hops do make it rather astringent, so there is noticeable drying of the tongue. This would be a fantastic beer to pair with a spicy meal, though.
 Grade: 9/10

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