Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop IPA

This is the first in my new four-part series called "What the heck is this?" This first one is an 'experimental' hop IPA. Now, I'm not sure why they feel the need to slap this label on this beer, but adding hops to an IPA is pretty much what built Bearded Iris and a few other brands, so this isn't really something new... or is it?

The coppery-gold beer has a white head with an orange vibe. The head is leaving lacing, and that's certainly something I look for and expect from an IPA. The aroma is more musty bread than I expected, but it is only background from the orange and grapefruit hops up front. This is going to be good.

First sip is very dry, but it's also very juicy. That orange, grapefruit, tangerine, and even a bit of mango is all mixed up in a somewhat bitter, dry mix. The malt is bready, but it's only cutting the bitterness by the tiniest portion.

Tip-in is mild carbonation burn with an acidic flare from the citrus in the form of Mandarin oranges, nectarines, and grapefruit. The middle is a stretch of stinging carbonation with the bread asserting itself and the citrus fighting for more attention. The finish is a wave of notably more significant carbonation burn as the bitterness is followed by the dry trail-off.

Bottom Line: I now understand why they called it "experimental." If it wasn't, it would be more of a surprise that it was so good but odd.



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