I don’t know about you, but I went through a pretty serious bored-with-IPAs period recently. Every new IPA or double-IPA I’d try pretty much tasted like the one before it, with subtle variations in hoppiness, pine vs. citrus character, and alcohol content. I didn’t even really think about it, but all of a sudden I realized that I hadn’t had a new one in like four months. And that’s not like me. So in my beer cellar I pull out this IRON HORSE BEER SHOPPE ANNIVERSARY ALE. It’s an Imperial IPA from an Ellensburg, WA brewer. Hey, I wonder if the Screaming Trees fellas every drink this one. It’s not part of the brewery’s regular lineup – in fact, there’s no record of it on their web site. If you take a look at the pictures on their site, though, this looks like the sort of place you’d LOVE to have a few pints in – dark, rustic and totally inviting. I’ll make a note of it next time I’m in Ellensburg for business.
Anyway, these guys make one whopper of a double IPA. They’ve brought the big-hopped, aggressive & large IPA back into my good graces with one fell swoop. This pours a dark orange/brown, and naturally upon first gulp you’re met with a fantastic dose of hops. The balance on this thing is just outstanding. It tastes “imperial” and yes, quite bitter, but it also is exceptionally floral and fruity and somewhat like a little orange zest was grinded into the mix. Wonderful, even at a big ten percent alcohol. This is as good as any IPA I’ve had anywhere, anytime. Anyone who tells you this style is “past it”, tell ‘em to hoof it on up to Ellensburg and get to a bottle shop stocking them some IRON HORSE. 9.5/10!