Schlafly Grapefruit IPA

I know it’s a shocker that I write about an IPA with citrus notes since that’s one of my favorite beer combinations.  However, this tasty brew from St. Louis has a ton of character and offers a good punch of grapefruit without being “fruity”.

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Schlafly brews their Grapefruit IPA with the pulp of the fruit mixed in with the wort (early stages of beer when grains are steeped and malt added).  The result is a great floral aroma and a good dose of flavor.  With the addition of Cascade and Citra hops, there is a great blend of hops and citrus to really let the beer shine without punching you in the mouth with bitterness from either the hops or fruit.  The end result is a an all-day IPA that you can enjoy at a game, cookout or watching your favorite sports.  At 5.0% ABV and 40 IBU it’s not going to render you useless after a couple – or a bunch!

Pair these suds with all kinds of foods, but I’m going with a cajun snapper and corn salad combo this evening.  You can pick up Schlafly in your local store or at their two restaurant/taproom locations.  With five year-round beers and some great seasonal selections, there’s a taste for everyone.  To learn more, visit their website at schlafly.com.

Double Haul IPA – KettleHouse Brewing

The last of my “tour of beers” out west was an outstanding IPA from another Missoula brewer, KettleHouse Brewing.  How can you not love a big full-bodied IPA that’s available in tall boys?!  Available in several restaurants and in stores, people recommended this beer to me multiple times throughout our trip.  It did NOT disappoint!

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If you love a rich hoppy aroma on top of a gorgeous amber ale, then you’ll want to pour this heady brew in a tall pint to fully enjoy it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always an aristocrat – I’ll tip back tall boys any day.  For the purposes of fully appreciating a new beer though, I grabbed a glass.  Brewed with local barley and cascade hops from the northwest, the brewers take special care to bring out the best of their local ingredients.  There’s a great mouthfeel with a decent amount of hop finish.  I really appreciate that these guys don’t go for the “hop bomb” that you get from a lot of craft brewers.  6.5% ABV will catch up with you quickly when you’re downing 16-ounce cans, but these suds are heavy or boozy at all.

I can think of all kinds of traditional pairings for Double Haul, but it was perfect with some fried pickles and a huge burger.  My only regret is that I didn’t try some of their others or get to the taproom.  I heard the Brick & Mortar Imperial Belgian Porter will knock your socks off!  Their biggest hit, Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, would have been awesome to try as well.  Alas, I now have an excuse to get back that way and indulge.  Check out their website kettlehouse.com for all the details.  Well done gentlemen, well done!

Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA

The Great Salt Lake and Mormons aren’t the only things that put Salt Lake City on the map.  Uinta Brewing definitely puts a gold star on the city with a great variety of craft brews.  If you’re an IPA lover, you’ve probably had the Hop Nosh before.  However, the “cousin visiting for the summer” in the Hop Nosh family is Tangerine IPA.  Amber in color with a thick head, you want to pour this one in a glass to take full advantage of the aroma and flavor.  With the addition of tangerine, the beer has a light citrusy aroma and taste up front.  Don’t let that fool you though as this baby is still boozy at 7.3% ABV and plenty hoppy as well.  It’s kind of like a sweet kiss followed by a punch in the mouth with a bitter finish.  Man, do I love that scenario…for beer.

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You’re not going to sit down with a dozen of these, but two or three with a ribeye or smokey-sweet BBQ makes for a perfect summer dinner.  You’ll find at least some of these varieties available widely, check them out and sample a few.  You can learn more on their website at uintabrewing.com.  I’m a fan enough of this one to give a couple more from this brewer a try.  Pucker up and enjoy!!

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA

I love that beer has had a revival over the past 5 years!  There’s been an explosion of local brewers and innovation in types, flavors, bottling, canning, etc.  What’s not to love, right? The starting point for many new breweries, and always a crowd favorite, is the IPA.  I’ve had more than I can count, but Ballast Point hit the nail on the head with this one.

There is great body in this beer with a crisp citrus hop flavor.  You’d think that the addition of grapefruit would make this overpowering, but it really compliments the beer well.  Who would have imagined that a winter fruit would make for a great summertime beer?  I love this beer with salmon or chicken, but it pairs really well with a lot of dishes.  I’d like to say it’s an all-day sipper, but at 7% ABV, it gets a little boozy on a long afternoon in the sun.

You can find this gem on tap and canned or bottled in lots of places due to their purchase by Constellation Brands (Corona, Modelo).  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed in this diversion from the everyday IPA!  Check them out at ballastpoint.com.

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