Beer Sherpa Recommends: Gigantic IPL
Yesterday's post was, I suppose, a bit of a distraction on one point. Although I used Gigantic's newest beer to illustrate a wholly unrelated point, I didn't much discuss the beer itself. Now to rectify that oversight.
Very often, you come to understand a beer the less you know about it. The Green Dragon, where I sampled the Gigantic, has a great taplist that, perversely, gives the drinker zero information beyond a name. They don't even list the ABV. That leaves you with nothing else but your nose and mouth to figure out what you're drinking. It makes a session a bit more random, but when you find a gem, it also happens to make the experience more rewarding.
When IPL arrived, I was startled at its appearance, which might have passed in a line-up of Blue Ribbons. It is pale. Nothing India about that. But then, lifting it toward my nose, I caught a plume of the aroma, which was very India indeed. There's a sweet, fruity underlayment and then something that first seems like pine but drifts toward the Alien OG. The effect of the appearance and aroma produced a kind of dreamlike discontinuity. The strange pleasures continued as I added my tongue to the mix. IPL is a very delicate beer, with little wisps of malt and no perceptible alcohol (turns out it 5.6%). And amazingly, the hop intensity, though sunshiny and resplendent, did not overwhelm the rest of the beer.
I tried to order another pint but, no shock to me, the keg had blown. We're stuck in the middle of one terrible long sunny nightmare*, and this was an amazing tonic. It looked and behaved like a helles, but had the aroma of an IPA and the flavor of a vivid pale ale. I would have liked to test its durability, but I can say that it performed very well over the course of a pint. I expect it did just as well over two or three. Get it while the sun still shines.
*To Portlanders and hairy black dogs, weather over 90 is painful, and we've endured weeks of the stuff.