always been my policy not to review beers I know are old. However, if
I’m not entirely sure – due to an illegible or non-existent freshness
code – I’d say it’s fair game. Based on my experience with Butte Creek’s
Pale Ale the other day, as well as many years of experience with old
beer, I’m inclined to believe this bottle of their IPA is out of code.
Had I bought it at a bottle shop or supermarket that would almost be
understandable, but I bought this at the brewery’s taproom. Old or not –
any beer sold at a brewery’s taproom deserves scrutiny. Let’s just say
I’ll bet this beer is pretty good when drank as it’s supposed to be
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It appears to have been
bottled on 8/28/14 (the code is difficult to decipher) and cost $3
($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark brownish/orange color; translucent with particulates in
suspension. Pours to a two-finger, white, frothy head which laces and
retains surprisingly well.
Smell: Mostly sweet golden malt. Some lemon lollipop (usually indicative of old/oxidized beer).
Taste: You can always tell an IPA is old because the hop character has
really faded (though I’ve never quite understood where the hops go –
it’s not like they evaporate in the bottle!). Quite malty for sure – a
palette akin to that of an amber ale. Sweet caramel and slight toffee
notes, along with yellow lollipop. A mild, but noticeable and consistent
bitterness lurks in the background through. It becomes slightly dry and
sharp at the apex, but otherwise has no citrus, piney, or floral
flavors and features. For what it’s worth, this is tolerable but not
Drinkability: Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale weighs in at 6.5% ABV,
which is about average for a single IPA these days. Though the palette
is uninspired, the actually deliver is passable. Low carbonation
provides for a slightly thick/tepid mouthfeel. The hops linger and leave
a dry, pasty/starchy aftertaste. I even get some alcohol warmth on the
finish, but at least it’s smooth going down.