A highly drinkable stylistic adventure
A Review of Brutal IPA by Rogue Ales / Oregon Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/23/2011 by Chops
So what do you get went you brew an ESB ale to imperial strength? According to Rogue Ales, you get an IPA. It's hard to argue with their logic because their Brutal IPA, previously named the Brutal Bitter Ale, tastes an awful lot like an IPA. So I have to give credit where credit's due. Props to Rogue Ales for swallowing their pride and renaming this beer to better suit it's overall character. I really wish more breweries respected their products and consumers enough to do the same (if needed of course).

In the glass, Brutal IPA has a thick apricot coloration and actually looks more like an imperial IPA. The aroma has a very nice balance of malty goodness and floral hops. I can smell a lot of different characters swirling around like toasted breads and muted caramels. Common citrus notes also make appearances, but only briefly and aren't a significant part of the aroma.

Knowing that this beer is essentially an imperial bitter, I was expecting a massive hop punch. Much to my surprise, that first sip was quite tame and refreshing. It has a more floral hop taste that it easily reigned in. The citrus notes take the form of grapefruit and act as a complimentary taste. The malt presence is large and in charge, giving this beer a smooth mouthfeel and a high level of drinkability. Despite it's namesake, Brutal IPA is actually well balanced with a lot of pleasant flavorings. Once the beer warms, it starts to take on a more creamy mouthfeel and drops some hints of vanilla.

Overall, Rogue's Brutal IPA was an unexpected delight. I really enjoyed this beer for what it is, a highly drinkable IPA-ESB hybrid. While I can't give it really high marks as an IPA, it's still a beer you should try. I can recommend Brutal IPA to any level of beer fan. The hops are tame enough for novices to give it a whirl. Seasoned beer drinkers will find it to be a very unique beer that borrows traits from both the IPA and ESB styles. It's a fun beer to study, just don't expect a purist example of either style.

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Brutal IPA by Rogue Ales / Oregon Brewing Co.
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