Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hopworks Urban Brewery - IPA (and Burnside Bourbon)

One & One with Hopworks IPA
and Burnside Bourbon.

My old man used to drink boilermakers. Well, he used to drink a lot of things, but I clearly remember him dropping a shot glass full of whiskey into a mug of beer. I'm pretty sure the beer was a Hamm's or a Schitz, so it makes sense that he would prefer to pep that swill up with something strong and tastebud numbing. I'm not really sure what brand of whiskey the old man downed in his younger days. Probably anything on sale.

The bar around the corner, Branch Whiskey Bar, usually has several pairings of different beers and whiskeys written up on their specials board. I'm a fairly simple man. If I'm drinking a beer, especially a fine craft beer, I typically won't add anything else to the mix, but the pairings finally peaked my curiosity and I tried a few. What I found is that the beer and whiskey can go very well together. That makes sense because beers aged in bourbon barrels are renowned for their explosion of complex flavors.

Some of the distinctive flavors of whiskey or bourbon--vanilla, oak, caramel--go very well with the distinctive flavors of certain beers. I imagine that the potential  combinations are almost limitless. I'm certainly no expert on distilled spirits. Hell, I'm far from an expert on beer or anything else, but I know what I like.

My choices of beer and bourbon were made pretty easily tonight. The Hopworks IPA was the only cold beer in the fridge and I wanted to finish off the Burnside Bourbon and make a little more room on top of my bar. Hey, the combo tasted pretty good to me.

Hopworks IPA is my go-to beer. I always try to have a few pounders of the stuff in my fridge. To me, it's the standard bearer for the Northwest IPA. I'm sure I could start a serious argument about which Portland brewery puts out the best IPA, but I'm sure all would agree that HUB's IPA is damn good. I'll review it for posterity's sake.

The beer poured into the glass a bright, clear, orange color. The white head was a finger thick and slowly dissipated to thin lacing from rim to rim.

Aroma is pine and citrus. Light floral scents, too.

Taste is grapefruit with a nice hoppy sting. There's a pleasant creaminess that finishes dry, with the bitterness lingering in just the right amount.

Easy drinking and damn near perfect. Goes really well with a shot of Burnside Bourbon, too. I'm giving Hopworks IPA a perfect score of 4 crushed cans out of 4--but you saw that coming a mile away.


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