My favorite podcast and chief resource for beer news is the craft beer empire being built by the PACIFIC BREW NEWS folks (Rick Sellers in particular). When they say a beer is a standout, you can believe that it probably is, because these guys are well-versed in all styles, and never make the leap into touting extreme beers for their own sake. A couple shows ago they were raving about GREEN FLASH IMPERIAL INDIA PALE ALE, and were comparing it very, very positively to highly-hopped standouts like Moylan’s Hopsickle, Russian River’s Pliny The Elder and Alpine Brewing’s Pure Hoppiness (which I’ve never had, but am trying to get my San Diego-based sister to find for me). I’ve reviewed a couple of Green Flash beers in this very forum the past few weeks, but this is one I’d yet to try until I encountered it on tap the other night at Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland, CA. This is the story of that beer.
They served said IMPERIAL IPA in a Belgian-style goblet, which was sort of the brewpub’s way of marking this one as “special”, I s’pose. Or a commentary on the recent US-Belgian cross-pollination in brewing methods. Or maybe they ran out of pint glasses. Anyway, this beer initially hits the nose with a really strong burst of hops and a “floral bouquet”, if you will. Like other well-constructed Double IPAs, you smell it well before you taste it, and the quality is apparent from the word go. I liked its bitterness, probably in the upper 25% for “bitter”ing among IPAs I’ve tasted, and probably well past a point that would be comfortable for most novice beer drinkers. GREEN FLASH IMPERIAL IPA didn’t really do a ton to distinguish itself (to my taste, this particular night) as one of the greats, but there’s likely a little bit of IPA overload implicit in that statement. As Rick and the gang at PBN always point out, we’re so friggin’ spoiled here in California when it comes to India Pale Ale, that it’s almost blasphemy to shrug one’s shoulder’s at a beer this well-constructed. I’ll go with 7/10, and look for a 22-oz. bomber of this in the stores in the near future.