Style: White IPA (Hybrid: Belgian Wit with IPA level hops)
From: Seacoast, NH
Availability: Limited (Mostly in NH and select accounts in the North East)
Brewery’s Note: “A White IPA brewed with witbier yeast, coriander, two types of orange peel and lots of Citra hops.”
The beer pours a pale and oranging yellow, sort of like dehydrated piss. The beer pours with a small head of fizzy white bubbles with lackluster retention. The bubbles leave very slick and slippery bubbles on the sides of the glass. In body, the beer is clear and clean, with a slight haze, but no floating particles. On the nose, the beer smells like spiced orange juice. Coriander and orange peel blend with rich, citrusy pine and mango scents, and a bready sweetness lingers below everything else. The scent is very crisp and clean for Belgian yeast. Its low on esters, but that is not a bad thing. On the tongue, the beer tastes tart and then sweet, with a growing citrus bitterness that builds into the finish alongside bready sweetness. The balance leans towards bitterness (as anything with IPA in the title should) but is remarkably even for the style. In flavor, the beer briefly begins as lemon juice, and then transitions into orange juice. A spice of coriander and citrusy/bitter orange peel enter into the middle of the sip, yeasty breadiness builds in the finish alongside citrusy piney hops and a nice herbal bitter flavor that gives perfect balance. The finish, in its entirety, seems a lot like bready orange juice with a healthy bitterness. The beer teeters between being a Belgian Wit and being a spiced IPA wonderfully, and the balance between the two styles is quite superb. In the mouth, the beer feels on the light side of medium, with a creamy mouthfeel that is buoyed by a tingling effervescence from the middling carbonation. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left sticky/dry, reminiscent of after you drink a good IPA. As I think about it, the finish is rather short and crisp on the beer, which makes it tremendously quaffable. Overall, I am a fan of this beer. It is hugely drinkable (dare I say sessionable?), and is begging to be placed in a six-pack. I was a bit bummed that Smuttlabs was not just pumping out barrel-aged and sour creations, but so far their session and hoppy offerings have been superb. If only they were cheaper! This is a superb beer. Charlie has done it again.