Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Is that what you say when you come across an “organic” beer on the shelves or in the bars? You might want to think about checking those assumptions after finishing off a bottle of BUTTE CREEK ORGANIC IPA, as I did last week. Alongside the very solid products of SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAIN BREWING (and several others), the BUTTE CREEK folks are making (or shall I say, have been making) a big play for the exploding organic beer market, and likely do a little better in California than they might in, say, Missouri. That said, I’m going to start looking past my underserved & unearned bias that “organic = potentially foul-tasting”; I certainly don’t believe that for fruits and vegetables; it makes even less sense for organically-produced beers.

BUTTE CREEK ORGANIC IPA can stand proudly among the west coast IPAs it is in company with. A very tangy and thick mouthfeel – one might even say “chewy” – makes this one an interesting cousin to some similar pale ales I’ve had, the names of which cannot be recalled at this point. This is an IPA that puts a lot of emphasis on its malts, which contributes in a big way to that really full, robust taste. Hops are surprisingly muted compared to some of its brethren, but oh they are most certainly still there. It’s only because our palates are now being conditioned to expect the puckering, tingling sensation of intense hoppiness that an IPA that doesn’t do this off the bat generates a quizzical look. Very good IPA, and one I’ll bet Californians in particular will be seeing a lot more of in the coming year. 7/10.

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