Freak of Nature (Wicked Weed Brewing Company)

Style: West Coast Double India Pale Ale

8.5% ABV

100 IBU’s (?)

Bottled on: 8/13/15

From: Asheville, NC

Brewery’s Note: “n. An unusual unexpected natural phenomenon. 2. An Outlying, west coast-style double India Pale Ale brewed with an abnormally large quantity of hops. 3. A delicately crafted and crushable ale designed for fresh and immediate consumption. 4. A hophead’s vice or downfall. Ex: Though warned about its habit-forming hoppiness, they were seduced by the dank, tropical, and drinkable Freak of Nature./ Freak of Nature Double IPA is our hoppiest ale. The focus of this beer was to create a hop delivery vehicle. We dry hop this beer at a rate of almost four pounds of hops per barrel. The resulting blend of dank and citrus forward hops make for a palate changing experience. Hopheads, rejoice. This is your beer.”

The beer pours a deep, rich golden color with soft, nuclear yellow tints. It forms a perfect, creamy head of pearly-white, pristine bubbles that sit a healthy distance above the glass and slowly recede like the evening tide, leaving lacing-pods of a smooth, middling weight. The body of this beer is clear, clean, and pristine, and reminds me of something you would find in a Budweiser commercial zooming in close on, only this beer gives off a deeper hue than anything from Bud… It looks real nice in the glass, with great retention, superb clarity, and all the other things too. On the nose is where this beer shows its true merit though, and it is a big ol’dank bomb of rich pine needles, pine cone, dirt, weed, a breathe of grapefruit, arugula, touches of aromatic spinach, perhaps a touch of garlic and onion, some chives, and the list goes on. This nose is all about those ‘classic American’ hop scents before everyone found a fruit basket in their IPA’s. It’s rich, unabashed, low and earthy and I love it! On the tongue, the beer tastes richly bitter and earthy with a faint touch of citric acidity just in the middle of the sip, and muted malt sweetness throughout. It finishes with a touch of heat and booze to remind everyone of its bigger nature, but really the beer moves its complexity from earthy dirt to rich herbal bitters, to low resin and pine bitters, and an endless parade of low bitter complexity. The flavor revels in the low-hop range, rolling chives, arugula, floral rose petals, slightly soggy spinach, pine resin, pine needles, and even pine tree bark. There is a smooth, cracker malt behind everything else, and it tries to dip its fingers into the caramel range, but this beer’s lower character drowns that out. This is an IPA that revels and fully embraces the tongue coating, low and earthy nature of the old school IPA’s. The rich, dankness boarders on minerally characteristics with touches of almost-roast, oniony richness that is never unpleasant, and really all the low flavors you can think of. As you drink more, the finish becomes lush with a grainy, floral character that lingers beside the tongue-scrapping bitters and is really quite pleasant. In the mouth, the beer is dry, and features a middling carbonation that allows the beer to feel effervescent, while being fluffy and smooth. It coats the tongue, but leaves quickly, allowing for a higher drinkability, and it actually feels on the thinner end of medium bodied. When it leaves the mouth is awash in spittle, dousing the bitter fires that leave the mouth sticky with resin, yet gentle with astringency. The back of the mouth feels coated and slightly oily, forcing you to take another drink and wash the feeling away. It’s a clever drink; a freak if you will. Overall, this is a damn fine ale. I’d put it up there for DIPA’s, and it brought a wholly different take to what the modern “IPA” has become, which I really enjoyed. Heady, Pliny, Dinner, Freak. That’s my list, I’m sure you have yours, go check out Beer Advocate. Low, earthy, piney, herbal, leafy, green… these are descriptors we throw around a lot when describing IPA’s, but I think this one has done the best job at really representing them. This is a low-pleasure that you should indulge in. It’s not fruity, and it is not tropical (though its label says otherwise). It embraces the West Coast moniker fully, and creates something new in doing so. Damn Wicked Weed, you’ve made a freak of nature, and I love it. Get this if you can.

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