Monday, May 11, 2015

pFriem Family Brewers - IPA

It's what's inside that counts...
I'm sure I'm not the first person to admit this: I'm attracted to a pretty face. That's true in a very general sense, but right now, I'm talking about beer labels. Yes, it's really what's inside that counts, but something has to get people to take notice. Heck, haven't you been watching Mad Men? Don and Peggy have been busting their asses and pulling all-nighters for years to come up with that whiz-bang marketing art! Of course, all the pretty packaging in the world won't make a crappy beer taste good. Oh-my-gawd, please forgive me, I'm about to quote Sarah Palin: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." 

There are a LOT of craft beers in those cold cases nowadays--some great, some good and some just meh. Certainly, a hardcore craft beer aficionado isn't going to care that much about the packaging, but the typical consumer, the newbie craft drinker and the non-drinking family shopper are going to need something to catch their eye or jog their memory for a repeat purchase. A plain wrap package probably isn't going to grab the attention of the casual cart-pusher, even if the beer in the bottle is pure awesomeness. Just sayin'.

What has lead me to this little diatribe about packaging and labels is my recent purchase of a bottle of pFriem Family Brewers IPA. Wow, what an attractive, classy presentation! The bottle is a unique 500 ml size with a handsomely tapered neck. That by itself makes it a standout from the standard 22 ounce bombers surrounding it in the cold case. The label design is simple, distinctive and seems to speak of nobility and quality. The "pF" monogram is the most prominent feature. The stylized border art contains two bears sipping cold ones from dainty snifters. "There's some good sh*t inside me," the bottle whispers. Well...that's not very classy, but you get my drift.

I picked up the single bottle at New Seasons. $3.99 for the 500 ml. This IPA comes with an ABV of 7.2%. The label provides a "bottled on" date and also proclaims:

Pale Ales have only gotten better since they arrived in 18th Century India. pFriem IPA builds on that legacy with big hops, huge citrus aromas, and candy-like malt. Drink up, guv'nor.

The beer poured into my IPA glass a clear, golden orange color with a big, bright, white head. The head rose up to more than two inches tall with no coaxing and dissipated slowly. A prodigious amount of clumpy, webby lacing was left behind.

Aroma was humongous citrus and resinous pine hops right up front. Sweet malt and a snoot full of intense tropical fruit smells followed behind. There was no lack of aroma to this IPA. The Wonder Beagle came running into the house the minute I plopped down on the couch with it.

Taste followed the nose. An appreciable hops bitterness throughout. Citrus flavors of orange, lemon and grapefruit. Appreciably dank, but not skunk-ish. Pineapple, guava. Peppery spice in there, too. Smooth, sweet malt flavor balanced everything out quite nicely. Delicious!

Medium mouthfeel with excellent carbonation. Not at all heavy on the finish and no hint of alcohol detected by my palate. So much taste for such an easy drinker. Hops bitterness and clean malt flavor left appropriately behind at the end.

Overall, this is a fantastic IPA. My tastebuds couldn't find a flaw. I'm giving this one a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.

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