Friday, October 2, 2015

Otter Creek Backseat Berner

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1467) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 2, 2015
I can’t believe Otter Creek has never had a year-round IPA in its portfolio until now. This is a brewery that has been putting out some great specialty IPAs in recent years, but now that I think about it, I haven’t had a standard single IPA from them until “Backseat Berner.” This beer was included in a New England-style IPA showdown my friends and I held this summer and it came in last, unfortunately. I thought it was pretty good drinking it blind at the time and drinking it straight up now I have the exact same opinion.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a flared snifter. It was bottled on 9/8/15 and cost $2.60 ($0.22 per ounce).

Appearance: Hazy shade of flame orange. Particulates can be seen floating in suspension as can some carbonation bubbles. Pours to a fairly large, white, frothy head which laces and retains beautifully.

Smell: A bit of an earthy nose with notes of pine and a bit of spice rack dust. Just a faint hint of citrus.

Taste: I’m not sure if this beer truly qualifies as a New England-style IPA despite the brewery and its Vermont location. Most beers of the style tend to have huge tropical fruit aroma and an herbal/spicy/grassy flavor and bitterness. This is a bit more in the traditional East Coast style with pine as the main driving note. Immediate resiny flavor as soon as it hits the tongue, quickly followed by a fairly sharp, bone dry bitterness. It does have the grassy hop flavor and spicy sensation of other brews of the general sub-style (no, that’s not an oxymoron), plus an underlying juicy flavor, but it is more of a background note. Not much in the way of malt distinctiveness; though there is enough to provide the palette with a semblance of balance.

Drinkability: At 7% ABV and 68 IBUs, Otter Creek Backseat Berner IPA is arguably a Double IPA, but they’re marketing it as a single (only beer nerds like us will care about that anyway). It certainly drinks like a single as it’s well-carbonated with consistent crispness rather than anything sticky or syrupy. No alcohol presence whatsoever, though the hops definitely linger and are quite drying. Definitely a good beer to stand up to food with a lot of flavor, especially hot wings.

RATING: 8/10