Tuesday, December 22, 2009

175b. Midnight Sun Sockeye Red IPA

Sockeye Red IPA is from the Midnight Sun Brewing Company in Anchorage, AK. I first had Midnight Sun and Sockeye Red IPA during a trip to Alaska in around 2002 or so (Jay, a little help here?). During that trip, I sampled pretty much any Alaskan beer I could find (including this one), and we put almost 2,500 miles on our rental car during our two week trip. Top of the World Highway? Drove it. Dawson City rocks, by the way. Artic Circle? Made it up there, too. We didn’t quite follow the no dirt road rule for the rental car. Our bad...

Sockeye Red IPA pours a deep red copper; there is a pillow-y and creamy tan head that laces the glass well. The nose is dominated by hoppiness—there are floral, citrus, and resin hop aromas in the nose—and while there are some slight malt aromas that make it through, they are wandering and lost in the hoppiness of the nose. Opening with a caramel malt combines with roasty and toasty biscuit flavors, Sockeye Red IPA quickly moves into bitterness; the malt flavors segue smoothly in a bitter middle almost seamlessly. There are some floral and grapefruit/citrus flavors as the beer rounds to home, and it ends with a reassertion of bitterness that lingers with a slight citrus hop tinge. The body is characterized by creaminess and low levels of tannic and hop astringency that marry well with the flavor profile; it is medium bodied and lightly slick and viscous. Sockeye Red IPA is smooth and well-balanced; it is very drinkable, even with the large hop profile. This is very much in the Northwest IPA style with a citrus & grapefruit Cascade presence. I was more pleased with this beer than I remembered from the last time I had it, which is saying something, because I was glad to find it again. The roasty flavors in the front offer a nice lead into the bitterness—it’s a bit different, but it works well as a transition across the flavor profile.

From the bottle: “It bites—hook, line, & sinker! Instinctively bold, Sockeye Red IPA is a beautifully crafted Pacific Northwest-style IPA with a real bite. Specialty malts impart a spawning red hue to its fresh, firm body but the predominant character of this incredible catch comes from outlandish hops. Snag it!”

Wait, are you using fishing imagery and language to make a sales pitch about your beer? Oh, I get it. And your advertising copy sucks as it cuts.

From the Midnight Sun website: “Brewed in the bold spirit of Alaska, Sockeye Red IPA is a finely crafted Pacific Northwest-style India Pale Ale with a real bite. Ample pale two-row malt creates a fresh, firm body while specialty malts impart a spawning red hue. The predominant character of this fiesty catch comes from outlandish portions of Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe hops, giving this beer tremendous citrus and floral aroma and flavor. Determined and bitter but amazingly balanced, Sockeye Red IPA is gnarly enough to take you hook, line and sinker. Forget about a bigger rig; grab a bigger glass.”

ABV: 5.7%
IBU: 70


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