Beer Review – National IPA Day

What appears to be a simple Thursday in August, may just be one of the greatest holidays in what is becoming an increasingly busy holiday calendar. My friends, while it appears every product, industry, and interest has its own dedicated day, August 6, 2020 is National IPA Day.

So raid your fridge, pop a top, kick back, and relish in the amazing blessing that are hops, malt, water and yeast.

The awesome care package sent to me by Silver Eagle Beverage

I was the lucky recipient of the above pictured care package, shipped to my door by the fine people at Silver Eagle Beverages, a distribution company dedicated to delivering the best beer and beverages in Southwest Texas.

The package included 5 of their top selling IPAs:

  • Freetail Brewing Co.’s Soul Doubt
  • Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing
  • Karbach’s Hopadillo
  • Saint Arnold’s Art Car
  • Elysian’s Space Dust

So let’s tuck into these brews and kick off the National IPA Day celebrations.

Soul Doubt IPA – Freetail Brewing

  • Brewery: Freetail Brewing Co.
  • Origin: San Antonio, TX
  • ABV: 6.8%
  • IBU: 65

A true San Antonio institution, Freetail has a reputation as purveyors of quality beer from their two local facilities, or in many of the bars and restaurants all over Texas. Soul Doubt is a well known and high selling IPA you’re likely to find throughout the Alamo City.

Pouring a crisp and clear straw color and building a tremendous head, Soul Doubt’s aroma is flush with hoppy notes. Mid-bodied and smooth, it presents a well-balanced hop profile throughout the mouthful that retains in the aftertaste and builds a little. Throughout your glass, you can expect a significant but not overwhelming bitterness from this hoppy brew.

It’s a great brew for a hot day, refreshing to break the heat and piney to get your tastebuds tingling. If you haven’t tried this one, pick it up and see what this top notch San Antonio brewery has to offer.

Hazy Little Thing – Sierra Nevada

  • Brewery: Sierra Nevada
  • Origin: Chico, CA
  • ABV: 6.7%
  • IBU: 35

One of the foundational brands of the US craft beer revolution, Sierra Nevada is likely known to anyone reading an article like this. Hazy Little Thing is the brewing titan’s take on the New England IPA (NEIPA) style brew.

Pouring slightly opaque and a light amber color, it builds a thin and foamy head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is citrus-forward and slightly sweet. Thin and smooth, Hazy Little Thing is a very mellow and easy to drink brew. It’s citrus forward with just enough hops to round out the flavor.

The low IBU makes Hazy Little Thing a great entry point for a first-time IPA drinker who has a history of mostly drinking macro-lagers such as Budweiser and Miller. Even with a higher tolerance for an interest in hoppy brew, Hazy Little Thing remains a favorite of mine. It’s a high-quality brew from a well respected, independent brewery, it’s very affordable as far as the craft beer market goes, and it’s widely available across the US.

Be sure to check this one out if you haven’t already!

Hopadillo IPA – Karbach Brewing Company

  • Brewery: Karbach Brewing
  • Origin: Houston, TX
  • ABV: 6.6%
  • IBU: 65

Karbach has been somewhat controversial in certain beer circles. Founded in Houston in 2011 and growing quickly, they were acquired by beer behemoth AB InBev in 2016. Their flagship Hopadillo IPA is widely distributed across the Lone Star State.

Hopadillo pours a clear-bodied amber hue and develops a solid head that retains well. It has a very mild aroma, with a slight sweetness. It’s light and smooth, making for a very easy to drink brew.

Malt-forward and decently hopped, it’s a fairly full flavored IPA without being a complete hop bomb. This is a great brew for someone who enjoys malt-forward brews such as marzens, amber ales, bocks, etc. At 6.6% ABV, Hopadillo strikes a balance between strength and capacity to drink over time.

Some will avoid this brew, due to ethical concerns regarding business practices, but it’s an objectively well-brewed and tasty beer. I would recommend checking this out at least once.

Art Car IPA – Saint Arnold Brewing

  • Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Company
  • Origin: Houston, TX
  • ABV: 7.1%
  • IBU: 55

Named after the patron saint of beer, Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing is an industry leader in the state of Texas. With many years of history and a stellar reputation, if you’ve ever consumed craft beer in Texas, there’s a reasonable chance it was from Saint Arnold.

Art Car pours a clear, light amber color. It builds a thin and frothy head that recedes quite quickly. A hoppy aroma greets, and mildly agitates, your nose.

Clean, light-bodied and packed with floral hoppy flavor, Art Car is an awesome middle-of-the-road IPA. It has the crisp drinkability sought by some, and a solid hop-profile sought by others. If you like those angles on an IPA, Art Car is an awesome choice for you.

I would strongly recommend anyone check out Saint Arnold Brewing. Regardless of your beer preferences, Saint Arnold’s wide and strong portfolio has something for everyone. Art Car is a quality beer from an amazing brewery.

Space Dust IPA – Elysian Brewing

  • Brewery: Elysian Brewing Company
  • Origin: Seattle, WA
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • IBU: 62

Another brewery who was recognized for doing great things and was gobbled up by AB InBev, in 2015. I’ve been a fan of Space Dust IPA for some time, but have largely chosen do divert my craft beer dollar to breweries local to San Antonio and Texas.

Space Dust pours an opaque, straw color and builds a reasonable head that dissipates quickly but laces well. Its aroma is quite hoppy and sets the stage for the flavor to follow. It’s mid-bodied and quite hoppy. A hint of sweetness rounds it out and prevents a bitter overload. That said, this is the hoppiest of the five beers. I’m a fan of its flavor, and recommend it to seasoned IPA drinkers or those with a reasonable bitter tolerance.

Like Hopadillo above, Space Dust is an objectively well brewed beer. Ultimately, the success and recognition of breweries is what causes AB InBev to buy them out in the first place. Ethics aside, this is a great beer to drink at least once, though I can understand the argument against it due to ownership.

Conclusion

What a holiday. National IPA Day is a great time and a wonderful challenge to push boundaries and pay homage to the versatility of the hop. Whether you’re a big time beer snob or a casual drinker, take the opportunity to expand your horizons. If you can, and are so inclined, please consider supporting your local craft brewery, these amazing beer halls need our help to weather the current storm.

A big thanks to my friends at Silver Eagle Beverage for sending these brews my way. If you’re looking for commercial beer supply in San Antonio or south Texas, be sure to reach out.

What are you drinking today? Let me know in the comments or connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! Until next time, happy drinking!

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