Sunday, March 9, 2014
Aroma: Woody pine and a hint of mint up front. Moderate citrusy hops (grapefruit and a hint of mango). Medium bready malt. Just a hint of warm alcohol. 11/12
Appearance: Slightly hazy gold/orange with thick rocky white head. Tiny bits of hop matter here and there. Good retention. Mix of a few medium and plenty fine bubbles with excellent lacing. 3/3
Flavor: Woody and citrusy bitterness. Woody pine lingers with moderate bready malt balancing it out from being harsh. A touch of warming alcohol is barely detectable. No diacetyl or other off flavors. 18/20
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a balance only slightly towards the dry side from the hops but not astringent. Maltiness keeps it from being a harsh bitterness. A little tingling from the carbonation and warming from the alcohol. No diacetyl slickness. 5/5
Overall Impression: An extremely well-balanced IIPA for my tastes. Solid malt backbone to balances out the hops. West coast fans probably aren't going to like it, but one of my favorite IIPAs. 9/10
That puts it as a 46/50 in my book. I'm not a huge hop head, so I prefer the maltier IIPAs, and this one fits the bill. I score it in the same ballpark as Ghost in the Machine but they're different sides of the IIPA spectrum. I guess the funny thing about perceptions is that if I didn't know which hops were in it, I'd swear Northern Brewer was in the mix. That initial woody with a touch of mint is textbook Northern Brewer (Anchor Steam is a Northern Brewer showcase).