And so the study continues
A Review of Single Hop Imperial IPA: Chinook by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 7/20/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
A while back I wrote about the brilliance of Flying Dog Brewery and their Single Hop Imperial IPA series of beers. While others in the craft beer world seem obsessed with the notion that all IPAs should have almost every single type of hops known to man in them, Flying Dog decided to go in an entirely opposite direction. Instead of needing a multi-volumed hops guide to help you enjoy an IPA, they have broken it down to the pure basics. One type of hops per beer in the series. The brilliance of this idea is in it's wonderfully simplistic approach. Why try to find balance in the countless combinations of hops out there, when some of them have enough personality and depth to beautifully stand on their own? I was made a full believer of this approach thanks to their El Dorado Imperial IPA, the first release in the series just a short time back. And after waiting somewhat patiently for the next release, I was rewarded today by finally getting to fill a glass with their Chinook Imperial IPA.

In the glass it has a pretty amazing golden orange coloration. The head is bright white, and has tight but fluffy appearance to it. It isn't very often that I take any extra time beyond what I normally do to examine a beer, but this is absolutely one of those times. Just look at the picture I snapped and tell me that it doesn't seem to almost glow. In any event, for me to be this entertained by a beer before even having a sip is a big accomplishment.

When you allow yourself to lean in and see what it smells like, the initial sniff is pretty forward and direct: Grapefruit. Ruby red grapefruit to be more exact. There is just a hint of sweetness to it, but by no means does it allow any other specifics through initially. It takes a few minutes of good warming time before any other aromas even dare to attempt to push their way through. When finally allowed to join the party, finer layers of pine resin and pineapple emerge, and they bring with them some bright pepper notes to highlight their arrival.

Now I know what you're thinking. With both a look and smell as awesome as this one brings to the table, how can it possibly be any less than amazing in the taste department? Allow me to go ahead and put your concerns to rest, because Chinook is a delight of a beer to drink as well. Instead of going into the intricate details of what it tastes like, allow me to describe the flavor combination that came to my mind after every single sip of it I took. Imagine a pint of ruby red grapefruit juice with about three of those candy caramel squares melted into it, and then a handful of pine needles were tossed in the glass in allowed to sit for a couple of days. Then toss in about a shots worth of high quality vodka to make up the slight alcohol burn, and that pretty much nails it on the head. I mean if that doesn't get your taste buds watering, you most likely just dislike IPAs in general.

To say that the fine people at Flying Dog Brewery have once again impressed me seems almost pointless at this time. Chinook Imperial IPA is another great example of how an IPA can be both delicious and impressive, without blasting your head off with complexity and bitterness. The more seasoned drinkers, and hopheads especially, should show no hesitation in grabbing one of these if it crosses their path. On the other hand, I urge the beginners to proceed with a bit of caution. While the flavors are very bold and upfront, the 10% ABV is surprisingly well hidden. So do yourself a favor, and take your time with it. This one is made to be studied, and the only proper way to do that is slow and steady.

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Single Hop Imperial IPA: Chinook by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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