Thursday, January 12, 2012

510. Crow Peak 11th Hour IPA

Today was about making the miles. We pulled out of Missoula, MT early, and rolled for victory. Or, as victory is spelled in these parts, South Dakota. 669 miles later, we hit Spearfish, SD, home to Crow Peak Brewing. Time for a pint and some grub. And, I would like to add, the fireplace shaped like a growler was a nice—and unexpected—touch. Since it was snowing lightly, we let Buddy take a nap in the car. He does so love the snow.

We both went for the 11th Hour IPA, mostly because anything less than that would have been anti-climatic after all those miles. Yes, we needed big and bold and hoppy. The beers came in an Imperial Pint, which started everything on a good note. 11th Hour IPA was crystal clear copper in the glass; the head was thin and white, but had decent staying power. Aromas were mainly pine and resin with a touch of caramel lingering in the background, although there were also citrus hop aromas in the nose. Flavors started with bread crust and pine hop flavor; the malt was sweet but not quite caramel, and flavors shifted toward biscuit in the front as the beer warmed. In the middle, there was caramel and a gentle bitterness, along with herbal and citrus hop flavors. The finish was more aggressive and assertive—the bitterness picked up, and there was a fair share of pine & evergreen hop flavor that lingered in the palate. As well, the bright and cleansing carbonation bit more in the finish; the beer was soft on the palate in the front, and sharper in the final third via carbonation and hop punch. The dry finish left the initial caramel behind. All in all, 11th Hour IPA was a decent beer—nothing spectacular, but still solid. Certainly not the pleasant surprise we found in Flathead Lake Centennial IPA.

After the 11th Hour IPA, we tried the Spearbeer, which was some sort of bitter or ESB, although neither of us were really sure, and we were too worn out to ask anyone and risk conversation—our stranger dyslexia had started to kick in after too many hours in the car. The malt character was a mix of nutty and biscuit, and there was a light lingering bitterness to the beer. We did also have a pizza, which, not to put a mean edge on it, was probably the worst pizza I have ever had in my life. Honestly, I could have MacGyvered a better pizza with Wonder Bread, ketchup, Easy Cheese, and beef jerky. Seriously. That’s how terrible it was. Oh, and after we had our beer and really, really, really bad pizza, we rolled another 320 miles to Mitchell, SD, for a daily total of 989. Not too shabby. Tomorrow: Wisconsin.

From the Crow Peak website: “Hop aroma and flavor dominate this IPA. However, the malt character of this deep amber colored ale nicely balances the hop component thus avoiding a harsh bitterness. Pure hoppiness!”

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 70


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