A Brew Worthy of General John Stark
A Review of Brew Free! or Die by 21st Amendment Brewing Co.
Posted on 1/3/2012 by Chops
Not too long ago a stark black can of beer caught my attention. I was minding my own business at my favorite local pub when I heard a faint whisper coming from the beer fridge. ''drink meh... drink meh...'' Moments later I was enjoying a Back in Black IPA from the 21st Amendment Brewing Co. It turned out to be a fabulous experience and since that day I have been itching to get my hands on more of their brews. On a recent return visit, I noticed that the Back in Black IPA had acquired a new friend in the brew fridge. Moments later I was introducing myself to the Brew Free Or Die IPA.

In the glass, this beer has a rich golden coloration that resembles a thick apple juice. It comes with a fluffy white head that sticks around for a good while. On the nose, I was pleasantly surprised to find a sweet candied malt aroma with very little hop sting. It actually smelled like a caramel chew. I also detected a whiff of citrus, but not enough to be considered a dominant trait. As far as IPA aromas go, it doesn't get much more easy going than this. Granted, the hop profile is significantly muted, but it doesn't give a weak impression. Going into that first sip, you're simply expecting a smoother malt heavy IPA.

Much to my surprise, the hop bite is quite sharp and slices up your taste buds right out of the gate. Luckily the violence quickly subsides allowing the sweet caramel malts rush in to patch everything up. As strangely lopsided as the flavor train is, the beer is actually very well balanced. Those aggressive hops get coated in candied malty goodness, providing for a lengthy enjoyment. The hops themselves take on a piney quality and the solid malty backbone gives them a pine resin vibe. As the beer warmed, some spicy characters emerged that complimented the pine flavor quite well.

I have to devote a paragraph to the mouthfeel because it is by far the most interesting aspect. It does have some expected qualities such as a mid-level body and some hop bitterness. But, the most noticeable quality is a creamy feel. Yes, you heard me right, a creamy IPA. I was completely caught off guard. It's very unique for the style and goes a very long way in taming aggression. I definitely recommend trying this beer if for no other reason than to experience the mouthfeel. The finish is quite dry and leaves behind a pleasant mishmash of malty tastes with only a hint of bitterness.

Overall, 21st Amendment's Brew Free Or Die IPA is a really tasty brew with lots of interesting qualities. It's a fun beer to study and I can happily recommend it to all levels of beer fans. Hop heads and other seasoned drinkers will find this beer to be a delightfully drinkable variation on the American IPA style. Novices can really benefit from this beer because the creamy mouthfeel allows for a more gentle insight into the IPA style. Consequently, this beer has become one of my bridge beers of choice. Here's hoping that 21st Amendment continues to brew free, because this is one brewery I hope never dies.

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Brew Free! Or Die by 21st Amendment Brewing Co.
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