The Super IPA Balancing Act

| October 18th, 2012 | No comments

There came a time in my life that I was deeply enamored with IPA’s. The more bitter the better. An American IPA is probably about as American as you can get. Loud and in your face with a giant floral aroma and a painfully bitter bite. Sadly, after trying countless IPAs, I began to get bored with the style. It seemed there were only so many ways to make an IPA. Nearly every IPA I had began to taste like the last IPA I had. Sure, there were my go-to IPAs that never let me down, but anything new that I tried, tasted too familiar.

Thankfully the good folks at the Alpine Beer Company came along and reminded me that while everyone can make an IPA, not everyone should make an IPA. An IPA is a balancing act of so many different elements. If all the different attributes of an IPA are in perfect balance, it is truly a work of art. Too many brewers strive for this perfection, but fall short.

When I first heard that New Belgium was collaborating with Alpine to make ‘Super IPA,’ I was disinterested. Just another double IPA, I thought. Then Armando introduced me to Alpine’s IPA, Duet. What an incredible beer, unlike anything that I’ve had before. Perfect balance of pine, citrus, and pineapple, with a perfect balance between the firm bitterness and malt backbone. After drinking Duet, I had been reminded of what a good IPA tastes like and was immediately looking forward to trying Super IPA.

Thanks to our local New Belgium Ranger, Karl Herrera, I finally had the chance to try Super IPA.

Alpine and New Belgium are artists when it comes to formulating a perfectly balanced IPA. This beer clocks in at 9% alcohol by volume, so creating such a heavy beer, with all the proper IPA nuances is no easy feat.

First of all, there is an incredibly sweet, citrus, and fruity aroma coming off this beer. Mango, lemon, grapefruit zest, a little pineapple, altogether it kinda smells like Fruity Pebbles!
Considering the high alcohol content, it is a relatively light bodied beer, making this extremely drinkable. There is very little malt presence, but along with the light body, there is a nice bit of sweetness from the residual sugars. This sweetness balances the strong, piney bitterness that follows. The bitterness on this beer is amazing. While it’s not too overwhelming on the palate, the pine and citrus zest linger for quite a while in your sinuses, even after you swallow. The high alcohol content hides itself well, but it does give a little warmth in the aftertaste.

As I mentioned in the beginning, while everyone can make an IPA, not everyone should. This beer is an example of two breweries that should keep making IPAs.