Embarking on a galaxy quest
A Review of Single Hop Imperial IPA: Galaxy by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/21/2014 by Chops
When it comes to big bold IPAs, the conventional wisdom over the last decade has been ''bigger is better''. If a brewer can cram insane complexity and truck loads of hop varieties into a single Imperial IPA, then beer geeks will flock en masse to their brewery. Well, not so much anymore. Beer fans have grown weary of palate punishing creations that offer little more than taste bud pain.

Nowadays, high quality simplicity seems to be the preferred equation. It's not enough to just taste hops, modern beer fans want to taste specific hops. This gave birth to another trend: IPAs brewed with only one variety of hops, commonly known as ''single hop'' IPAs. It's now fairly common to find these brews on beer store shelves. As a result, many hop heads are shifting their preferences from specific beers to specific hops. It has opened a whole new world of exploration.

For a while, there were only a handful of breweries that were crafting single hop IPAs. Flying Dog was once of these breweries and they have become a go-to establishment for the style. Their base brew is solid and delicious, providing the perfect backbone for whatever hop variety they wish to focus on. I have really enjoyed drinking my way through the series, which has included everything from Simcoe to Citra. Up next is the Galaxy version.

As an educational aside, Galaxy hops are described as an ''Australian high alpha dual purpose triploid cultivar with a marked and unique hop aroma, described as a combination of citrus and passionfruit. The initial aromas and flavors are quite intense, but these moderate as the beer matures.''

In the glass, this beer had a hazy honey orange coloration. It came with a big fluffy white head that had great retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a tropical bouquet of mango, pineapple, passion fruit, and orange citrus. Rounding out the mix were lesser notes of peach and grass. It was an amazingly rich aroma for such a singular concept. I was truly blown away at how much complexity was contained in a single hop variety. My senses were peaked and I wasted no time diving in for that first sip.

If I had to choose a trait that is most often absent in Imperial IPAs, it would be balance. This is why this beer caught me completely off guard. This brew was impeccably balanced, allowing all primary flavor notes to flourish unabated. Along with the tropical notes from the aroma, I found a sweet bread base along with apricots, earthy caramel, and mild herbal notes. The beer had a mid-to-heavy body and was surprisingly smooth for the style. The warm tropical hop profile was only moderately aggressive. The finish was clean, smooth, and exited with a warm peach bread aftertaste.

Overall, I have to hand it to Flying Dog. The Galaxy version of their Single Hop Imperial IPA series is exquisite. This is hands down my favorite of the series and is actually one of my favorite Flying Dog brews as a whole. The flavors are rich and powerful. The complexity is intellectually gratifying. The accessibility is very impressive for the style. It hits all the high notes of a fantastic brew. Consequently, this is a brew that I can happily recommend to most beer fans, and especially to hop heads. Standard novice restrictions apply due to an aggressive demeanor and a respectable 10% ABV. But for those with imperial palates, this beer is a must-try. As a giddy new fan of Galaxy hops, I will be seeking out this glorious nectar for a long time to come.

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Single Hop Imperial IPA: Galaxy by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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