Monday, October 12, 2015

Knee Deep Brewing Company - Breaking Bud Imperial Pale Ale

Say my name...
Guess what's legal in Oregon as of October 1st. Can you guess? Come on, guess! Okay, I can see I stumped you. Cannabis! Marijuana! Weed! Pot! The ol' Sticky-Icky! Yup, and now we don't have to be coy or shy about comparing Cannabis sativa to it's kissing cousin Humulus lupulus...I'm talking about hops, folks.

Yes, hops and cannabis are in the same plant family. People with an exposure to both plants have noticed similarities for decades. Hops and cannabis do not share narcotic properties, however. Nope, hops won't get you high. In fact, I understand that ingesting or smoking raw hops will give you the mother of all headaches, so don't do that. 

The two plants DO share certain aromatic properties. A perusal of the interwebs via Google scored me this interesting article from Popular Science that discusses substances called terpenes and terpenoids that cannabis and hops both contain. These molecules provide those shared aromas of citrus, pine, lavender (and that "dank" skunky smell); and give hops their desirable bittering property AND make cannabis a psychoactive drug.

Personally, I don't partake of the cannabis. Not my thing, but I've been around it enough to appreciate the smell of some dank weed. The aromatics are quite pleasing and often remind me of my beloved, favorite plant, hops.

Today, I'm drinking Breaking Bud, a beer from Knee Deep Brewing Company in Auburn, CA. (Recreational cannabis is not yet legal in CA, but will be soon, I expect.) Their website describes the style as an "Imperial Pale Ale" and says it is "a fresh approach to the classic IPA." Hmmmm. The beer has a reported ABV of 6.7% and 50 IBU's. Breaking Bud is clearly a reference to the hit TV show Breaking Bad, and the Bud reference would seem to imply some connection to cannabis. That has me expecting some appreciable dankness. Let's find out.

The beer poured into my glass a clear, pale orange color with a bright, white head. The head rose up to over a finger thick with no coaxing. I had to back off the pour a bit to calm it down. The head dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin, full cap and webby lacing were left behind.

Aroma did have a touch of the dank. Yup, it's in there. Citrus and light pine. Juicy tropical fruit aromas of pineapple, mango and guava. A nice POG-like smell. Sweet, bready, malt in the background.

Taste followed the nose. This beer is absolutely not a hop bomb. No big bitter pucker and heavy-handed dankness. However, that is not to say there isn't a TON of flavor. Surprisingly complex, this one. There's the orange and lemony citrus, a hint of grapefruit pith, and a flood of pine and tropical fruit on the finish. A little bit of peppery spiciness in the mix, too.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Hops bitterness left primarily on the palate at the end of a dry finish. It's an easy drinker with no hint of any alcohol.

Overall, this is a really nice beer! It's not what I expected, but that's a good thing. There's some real mastery of hops-manship demonstrated. I like it and would absolutely drink Breaking Bud again. I'm giving this brew a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. A 1/2 can of that score is for pleasantly surprising me. I bought the bomber at Grocery Outlet for $4.49. Deal!


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