poured a 16oz can into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date. It
was gift from a friend (thanks, Jon!).
Appearance: Bright glowing orange hue over an extremely hazy body. Pours
to a large, white, frothy head which retains and laces fairly well.
Smell: Strong hop aroma of all major characters, especially citrus. Some alcohol is noticeable, as is the malt.
Taste: If you’re going to make an imperial IPA, you’d better go all-out,
and Finch’s Hardcore Chimera is a good example of what I mean. Brewed
with five different hops and heavily dry hopped, this is a really
well-rounded brew. It’s not simply just arbitrary hops over arbitrary
malts, there’s a distinct balancing of both malt and hops here. It’s
sweet, citrusy and bitter – that’s what makes for a great IPA.
It’d be easy to describe this palette as a West Coast-style IPA, but
that doesn’t seem entirely accurate. There’s notes of candy, stone
fruit, pine needles and flowers here thanks to the varied hop selection
(the Mid-Western breweries tend to be the best at blending so many
different hops). Peach, passion fruit and grapefruit all are noticeable
right away. There’s also a strong pale malt base which creates for a
full body and a sweetness to offset the hops. Though I wouldn’t describe
this beer as being extremely bitter per se. Alcohol imparts some
rum-like spice and leaves a slightly vanilla-ish aftertaste. This is a
complex palette for sure and all the flavors are mighty enjoyable; but
not quite to the point of being mind-blowing.
Drinkability: IPAs of this caliber tend to be difficult to drink as they
might be sticky and cloying, but Finch’s Hardcore Chimera is much more
drinker-friendly. Sure it’s a full-bodied palette, but it’s comfortable
in the mouth with a soft presence and smooth texture. The 9% ABV does
make itself known in the form of a gentle warmth in both taste and
sensation, but it’s nothing too intense. Great to pair with a big meal,
or enjoy a single serving on its own merit.