A Straight Shooter Through and Through
A Review of Icy Bay IPA by Alaskan Brewing Co.
Posted on 6/11/2015 by Chops
                   
Delicious
Ah, the IPA. America's most popular and widely abused craft beer. I say ''abused'' not from a consumer perspective, but rather from a brewing perspective. Every brewery makes one, but few breweries put forth the effort to make great ones. Anyone who has sat down with a new IPA can appreciate the concept of an unnecessary hop assault. It seems that too many breweries these days just dump a bunch of hops into a mediocre brew and call it a day, or rather, an IPA. After several decades of choking down hop bombs, craft beer fans have come to expect a balanced approach to hop-forward brews. One brewery that understands the need for balance is the Alaskan Brewing Company. Their Icy Bay IPA is a great example of an IPA crafted with integrity.

In the glass, this beer had a light golden coloration. It came with a rocky white head that had really nice retention. On the nose, I found a strong dose of piney hops followed by notes of sweet grass, grapefruit, and toasty malts. That was pretty much it, just a straight up, no frills IPA intro. And in a craft beer world full of insane interpretations, finding a solid version of a time-honored style was a breath of fresh air.

As I dove in for that first sip, a big dose of savory pine resin coated the inside of my mouth. It wasn't overly bitter, nor was it too aggressive. As Goldilocks put it: just right. Rounding out mix were herbal notes, grapefruit, a light orange citrus, and a touch of spice. The hops profile was beautifully balanced and offered a moderate amount of bitterness and aggression, just enough to compliment the pungent fruity flavors. The beer had a light-to-medium body, felt smooth on the palate (for the style), and offered a rewarding freshness that you usually see in harvest ales. The finish was clean with a resin-like stickiness and exited with a long aftertaste of fresh grass and lemony bitterness.

Overall, I found the Icy Bay IPA to be a wonderful example of brewing acumen. This beer did not try to be anything it wasn't. No strange additives, no hop assaults, no lopsided flavors, just a straight shooter through and through. And with the Alaskan Brewing Company at the helm, the beer also offers a notable level of quality. As a result, this is a beer that I can easily recommend to any and all beer fans, and I would especially recommend the Icy Bay IPA to novices due to its restrained balance, serving as a fantastic intro into the style. And on the flip side, beer nerds like myself can enjoy it for what it is: just a damn good IPA.

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Icy Bay IPA by Alaskan Brewing Co.
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