Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beer Review, Week of Jan. 17: Brew Free! or Die IPA

The first thing you may notice about this week's selection, is the CAN! When I initially decided to sample this beer, I was certainly a little apprehensive...everyone knows that good beer doesn't come in a can! Canned beer is inherently light, watery and always tastes like aluminum...

Well, the folks up at 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco [and many other craftbrewers across the country] are out to change the negative perceptions people maintain toward canned beer. In fact, on the packing, 21st Amendment offers "Six Good Reasons to Open a Can of Beer."

First, cans keep fresher because the beer never sees any light, and cannot be damaged by UV rays. [as my college buddy would say, 'Never trust a green bottle...'] Secondly, cans are lined so the taste of the beer remains unaffected. Cans weigh less and chill faster than glass bottles, and they are easier and cheaper for smaller breweries to ship and distribute. Cans are easier to recycle and perhaps more importantly, cans get recycled at a higher percentage rate than do bottles. And finally, cans will go "where no glass dares"...for example, beaches, parks, stadiums, boats, pools, golf courses [and into those sweet hats].

21st Amendment offers their IPA, their Watermelon Wheat beer, and their limited edition 'Insurrection Series,' all in can format. If all of these reasons aren't convincing enough to try canned craft-brew, Brew Free! or Die IPA should definitely provide incentive.

This beer poured smooth and clean. Cracking open the can not only provided that great sound, but unleashed the flowery aroma of the beer. The pour formed a white head that clung to the side of the glass, and released good deal of carbonation that forced the aroma and flavors to the forefront of the brew.

Beautiful copper color with an evanescent glow. The beer had a white head, that did not quickly dissipate, forming beautifully intricate 'spider-webs' of suds on the inside of the glass as I drank. The beer smelled flowery and clean, with no real discernible alcoholic undertones.

I am loving these West Coast Style IPA's, and this one delivered. The taste was bright, bitter and bold, but not unbalanced or overpowering. The flavors were clean and polished, not messy by any means. The flowery taste masked the alocholicity (7.0% ABV) of the beer, but you got the feel of residual heat down the throat. The hop flavors are balanced nicely with a malty/sweet hint, and thus, the mouth-feel is not overly bitter but does give a little of that bite in the cheeks.

Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 70

All in all, this could be one of my [current] favorite IPA's. It is certainly a notch down from Pliney the Elder, in terms of big brash and bold hoppy bitterness. But still, Brew Free! or Die IPA delivers that classic American IPA flavor, all wrapped up in a portable, environmentally friendly can! I recommend this brew to any IPA fan, seeking a canned craft-brew experience.


No comments: