Style: India Pale Ale
Bottled On: 12/05/13
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Brewer’s Note: “Ask for a blind pig during prohibition and you might just get a beer… During prohibition using the term “blind pig” discreetly meant many different things. Sometimes it was a secret code given to a bartender to receive a beer. In other places, it meant you paid a small fee to see a ‘blind pig,’ and along with viewing you’d get a beer, or something else… And what would your ‘blind pig’ be served in? An unmarked mason jar of course. In those days, a mason jar was known as a pig, and an unmarked mason jar was known as a blind pig./Use that term discreetly today and you’ll get Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA, a bold IPA packed full of hop flavor, and bitterness.”
The beer’s label is old school and a little hokey. I like the blind pig graphic, and I like how clean and crisp the layout and fonts are, but overall they make a rather bland design. The label seems like a blend between the classiness of Pliny the Elder’s label and the cheesy look of eighties cartooning, which doesn’t really work for me. The label is not horrible, but it doesn’t stand out to me, and the clutter on the bottom of the label and on the borders takes away from the label as a whole.
The beer pours a clean, crisp golden color with orange tinges. It forms a head of eggshell white bubbles of a medium size, which sit nicely above the beer at about a half finger’s width. In body, the beer is clean and clear with just a touch of haze. On the nose, the beer smells of big orangey pine. Smooth caramel malt blends over the rich hop aroma, giving a sweet kick to the citrus nose. Touches of grapefruit and citrus rind also make their way into the nose to suggest the more bitter qualities of the beer. The smell is not overly pungent, but is nice and nuanced. On the tongue, the beer tastes nicely bitter with a smooth sweet backbone that brings rich balance to the beer. In terms of Pliny, I feel the bitters more in Blind Pig but I know there are less bitters overall than there were in Pliny… Citric acidity is also found in the taste, and is light and playful on the sides of the cheeks. In flavor, the beer begins as aspirin bitters and then opens into rich, bitter grapefruit and orange. Wisps of toast and caramel dance on the sides of the palate, but this beer is all about the bitters, which are strong yet balanced. The finish is of fresh orange juice with a touch of bitter aspirin and grass. In the mouth, the beer feels on the light side of medium with a gently prickly, higher carbonation and a crisp, snappy mouthfeel. It leaves the mouth dry with a light bitter resin and some saliva in the cheeks. Overall, Blind Pig is a great, classic IPA. It is all about the citric bitters, which I really enjoy. Terrific balance is seen here, similarly to Pliny, but in a way that seems to accentuate the bitters more. Head to head with Pliny, I think I liked Pliny more, this is a solid beer with great flavors, but doesn’t really wow me in any way. It drinks like a classic IPA, which it is.
4.04/5, 39/50 BJCP, B+ in Style