don’t know if anyone other than me considers the “New England-style
IPA” to be a thing (i.e. strong IPAs that are reminiscent of Heady
Topper), but I keep finding so many of them. Fiddlehead Mastermind is
yet another entry into the genre, and while it’s more than solid for a
beer, it’s a tad generic for the regional style.
I poured a 12oz can into a goblet. It was canned on 8/21/14 and given to me from a friend (thanks, Jon!).
Appearance: Pale lemony yellow hue. Unfiltered and completely opaque.
Pours to a small, white, foamy head which laces and retains fairly well.
Smell: Strong herbal nose of spice rack seasonings; citrus juice concentrate.
Taste: Though billed as a double IPA, Fiddlehead Mastermind drinks
almost like a pale ale. It’s more about the hop flavor than sheer
bitterness, here. Lemon and orange juices seem to be quite prominent
immediately. It turns on a dime into a spicy, herbal concoction of onion
and garlic powders. These remain well into the finish and in the
aftertaste, though it’s quite pleasant-tasting. The malty backbone seems
rather muted; creating for just enough sweetness to offset the hops but
not much in the way of complexity or distinct grain character (probably
just two-row?). Overall, this is a satisfying palette for sure, but I
think even more could be done with it.
Drinkability: For an 8.1% ABV brew, Fiddlehead Mastermind drinks like
something half its size. This is due to the very comfortable,
well-carbonated mouthfeel. It’s soft and smooth, though it does leave a
drying, slightly spicy aftertaste. There’s also some alcohol presence in
the taste and some lingering warmth on the throat. Nothing that’s not
easily tolerable, though. You probably want to drink this at fridge