Tuesday, February 1, 2011

449. North Peak Vicious American Wheat IPA

Located in Traverse City, Michigan, North Peak Brewing Company is a side project of Ron Jeffries. Yes, I know other brewers are involved (Jon Carlson, Greg Lobdell, and Mike Hall—I can read the website). But I’m here for the Jeffries. I’m just sayin’. They do get an extra-special shout-out for using old school stubby bottles—reminds me of the days of Lucky and Rheinlander. We had Vicious with some Reypenaer 2-year gouda—not because we thought they’d be a match, or because we’re overly excited about food and beer pairings, but mainly because aged gouda is awesome, and we had just bought some. And it couldn’t wait.

Vicious pours a burnished copper with a thin white head; the nose is caramel and wheat—more caramel than wheat—coupled with spicy and resin hop aromas. There’s a touch of pine hiding in the back as well. It’s rather a pleasant nose, actually; the malt and caramel are well-balanced. Flavors start with a caramel malt flavor before moving into hop flavor in the middle—there is pine and citrus along with the spicy resin components of the nose. The finish has a bit of a gummy wheat flavor along with a healthy dose of bitterness that lingers, along with a touch of caramel sweetness. The body is a bit soft and flabby, although that could just be the wheat talking—but it does feel a bit uneven in relation to the hop profile. While Vicious avoids the slight sourness found at the end of other American wheat beers, it is not as balanced in the body as Gumballhead, for example. The carbonation does help give the beer a creamy mouthfeel. Overall, I like it, but it is not stupendous.

From the North Peak website: “Beware of beer. There, we warned you. The frothy head, and pungent, piney dryhopped scent (from Cascade and Amarillo hops) should alert you to the brew’s imminent attack on your senses. Next, Cascade, Perle, and Willamette hops will batter your palette [sic] with bitter ferocity. Finally, pale, Crystal (30 and 75), and wheat malts converge in a cloudy, thick body and give you a smooth kiss of sweet death—and leave you howling for more!”

ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 66.7

Why does this beer attack my painting tablet with bitter ferocity? What did it do? What’s next, my pets?


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