Hop Savant: Galaxy (Crooked Stave Artisanal Beer Project)

Style India Pale Brett

7.0% ABV

October 2015

From: Denver, Co

Brewery’s Note: “Primary fermented with Crooked Stave’s mixed culture of Brettanomyces yeast and then received over three pounds per barrel of Galaxy hops, a varietal known for its distinct citrus aroma and stone fruit characters.”

The beer pours a pale, greenish yellow-orange. It pours with a smooth, creamy head of off-white bubbles that dwindle away to leave a tidal ring of sheeted and drizzling lacing to spatter across the glass. The body of the beer is crystal clear and translucent, yet slightly hazy. It looks pretty in the glass, with a spot-on head of sticky lacing. On the nose, the dry hopping bouquet is massively juicy. It’s like a fresh bag of Galaxy hop pellets. Think juicy citrus, green pine, a little dirt, a little mango, some apricot, some arugula/fresh herbs, some grass, a touch of green blueberries, a very faint hint of unripe banana, slight green apple, a slight wash of watered-down pineapple juice, and a perfumey sweet caramel note that I get from a lot of DIPA’s. It smells like a big ol’IPA without much “traditional funk” or bretta notes. It is important to note (for those wondering) that this beer shouldn’t have those notes, as it is a primary brett ferment and is relatively fresh. Primary brett fermentation can come across rather clean, fyi. On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter with fresh citrus and pith. The beginning and middle carry a subdued/drying citrus fruit sweetness that completely dries on the finish to unleash fresh citrus and pine bitters in big juicy waves. Acidity is mild and integrated, touching on slight citrus notes in with the bitter citrus, and also suggesting slight pineapple and apricot juice. The bitters, however, are the star here and they are beautiful and dominant. The taste is fresh grapefruit and orange juice blended together with a little too much pith and a little bit of pine and apricot flesh. There is a slight concentrate feeling, sort of like orange juice from concentrate, but a little fresher than that… if that makes any sense. In the mouth, the beer is medium light bodied, with a svelte, creamy feel, and a mild and fluffy carbonation. It is very smooth and easy to drink, despite the lovely bitter punch of flavor. When the beer leaves the mouth is left slightly wet on the tip with saliva that tries to well to the rest of the mouth, but, in the end, the mouth is left even if slightly resinous. Overall, this is just a really nice, juicy IPA. The juice is a big blend of citrus bitters and juices, with mild touches of stone fruit and herbs and pine. If I drank this blind, I would have no idea of the bretta fermentation. This is an awesome example of what brettanomyces could do, and only helps to further Crooked Staves dominance in all things “Brettanomyces.” I’m not sure I would really seek this beer out, or even grab it from the shelf in the future, as there are other IPA’s I like a bit more, but for what it represents for the continued evolution of brett fermentation, it is beautiful and awesome, and standing as just an IPA it is delicious.

 

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