Style: Double/Imperial IPA
From: Holyoke, MA
Brewer’s Note: “People pay homage in many ways. Some build statues or create holidays to commemorate those who they respect greatly. We don’t have that sort of pull with the international calendar federation, plus we’re low on cement so we made a beer. Salute is our way of tipping our caps to Samuel Adamsand their Hop Sharing Program. Without their generosity, we wouldn’t have been able to make the beer you’re holding. So you’d just be standing here empty handed, which is the worst kind of thing. Especially considering that we think this beer is good enough to make you laugh, cry, and then feel weird because you’re laughing and crying by yourself. But I digress… What I’m getting at is that while it’s one thing to say you support small business, it’s quite another to actually do it. And when the result of that sort of good karma is delicious beer, then you’ve got something I’ll tip my flat brim to. From Backlash to Samuel Adams, Cheers!”
The beer’s label is interesting. I’m not as much a fan of it as I am of Backlash’s Beers of the Apocalypse Series labels. The silhouette of the brewer saluting is cool and clever, but the colors are all subdued black and grey with white highlights. I do like the font style though. It is clearly visible and grungy, which is eye catching and funky. The label is not horrible overall, and is worthy of scrapbooking, but isn’t quite up to shelving quality.
The beer pours a pale, golden orange with a slightly cloudy body that appears to have thousands of little particles floating through it. The head pours at a healthy width and mellows into a nice, half-a-finger’s-width, with a lazy stream of bubbles working their way to refill the head. The beer leaves a lacing of sticky dry bubbles that leave tendrils across the glass. On the nose, this beer smells like a big, bold, and pithy DIPA. Resinous pine and citric, bitter grapefruit mingle and dance on the nose with hints of tropical mango and pineapple, and there is even a light, cracker-like caramel malt sitting below all of the beautiful hop smells. Pine is the big player in the nose, though, and it is beautiful. On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter, but smooth with light acidic pucker and some nice mellowing sweet malt and hops. In flavors, the beer begins as sweet tropical mango and papaya, but quickly moves into bitter, sticky pine flavors with touches of citric grapefruit. These flavors, interestingly, crescendo into a mild and smooth bready malt character that pillows the tongue against the harsher bite from the hops, and helps make this beer hugely drinkable. The finish is a blend of bitter pine, bittersweet tropical fruit, and bready caramel malts with a touch of peppery spice. The aftertaste is a lovely lingering of the finish with the spice actually intensifying slightly and making me think of rye malt, though I don’t think any was used in this beer. In the mouth, this beer feels great. It feels on the light side of medium in body with a prickly carbonation that keeps the beer’s sweetness in check, but also mellows into a beautiful fluffy cloud that cradles the tongue and makes this beer hugely quaffable. This is nearly the perfect “knock back double IPA.” Overall, I am a fan of this beer. It is neither the bitterest, nor the fruitiest DIPA I have had, but it blends the flavors beautifully, and has a really nice mouthfeel. I’m not sure if the mouthfeel is what I normally want from a DIPA, but with this beer it is fantastic and it hides its alcohol beautifully. Try this beer.