Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Westbrook IPA (2014 original review)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1183) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 24, 2014

Westbrook is a brewery that has been blowing up in popularity in my area, and for good reason: everything they make is much better than solid. They seem to stick with classic styles, but they do them really well. Their IPA is no exception as it’s essentially a classic East Coast-style IPA with plenty of piney character, but has more flavor and a higher drinkability than your average brew of the style.

I poured a 12oz can into a goblet. It was canned on 8/19/14 and cost $3.30 ($0.28 per ounce).

Appearance: Hazy, translucent shade of peach flesh yellow/orange. Poured to a two-finger, eggshell, frothy head which retained and laced extremely well.

Smell: Strong hoppy aroma, especially of citrus, vanilla, and pine.

Taste: There’s plenty of hop character to this beer, from beginning to end. Up front there’s a light, citrusy flavor akin to tropical fruit juice. It’s actually rather sweet and for a moment, refreshing. Through the middle there’s additional sweetness; an almost confectionery flavor of vanilla or toffee. On the back end comes piney hops with some astringent resin character that’s complemented by the base malt very well. The can indicates a bitterness level of only 60 IBUs, and it certainly seems accurate, though the hops account as much for flavor as they do for bitterness. Plus, the base malt is strong enough to support this palette and keep it in check, so as not to simply be carbonated hop water. This is the kind of no frills/no gimmicks IPA I wish more breweries would make.

Drinkability: As enjoyable as the taste to Westbrook IPA is, what’s just as impressive is the raw drinkability. The mouthfeel is medium to full-bodied with a soft, smooth texture, but a heavy presence. It’s calm across the tongue, but the carbonation is strong enough so that the beer essentially scrubs itself clean. Slightly dry/pasty aftertaste, but it’s fine. At 6.8% ABV it begins to veer into imperial territory as the alcohol does seem to play a role in the palette as well as ON the palate. Though I doubt any beer drinker of at least an intermediate experience level will have any difficulty with this. 
Grade: 9/10

NOTE: See my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here:

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