Avery Brewing Co., Dugana

Grade: A-
Avery Brewing Co.

A very light tan head tops a dark golden, slightly amber beer so clear you can read a newspaper through it. The aroma is a smack in the face of hops. Pine, gooey resin, spice, some earth, grapefruit and lime are the main players in the nose. Some biscuit and caramel are in the background, but the hops are dominating. Mouthfeel is medium to medium heavy, coating the tongue and leaving only a little tingle from carbonation. There is assertive bitterness here, almost tannic with some roasty qualities, possibly from some darker malts. The hops lend an almost vegetable-like element to the flavor, which can be summed up simply as "dank." Malts are present, simple in flavor profile and dry.

The hop flavors echo many of the notes from the aroma, with pine, grapefruit, and spice being forefront. The bitterness is sharp and aggressive, but surprisingly balanced. It lingers on the tongue, but instead of a harsh, acidic and burning sensation there is flavor. The pine and resin carry through to the finish, leaving you with something to actually taste. The grapefruit is there too, which is surprising. I'm actually enjoying the flavors from the bittering hops here, throughout the beer, from the aroma to the finish.

While this beer is certainly on the double side of IPA, with alcohol and unbalanced hops aplenty, I've had worse. When looking for double IPAs it's nice to find something that delivers that dose of hop lupulin I need in a slightly new and different way. The masterful way the bittering was handled here is certainly the star of the beer. To manage a beer that is decidedly bitter, but not unpleasantly so, is challenging to say the least. I'd be curious to see what this tastes like in a year or two. Due to the sheer volume of hops (with their preservative properties) I'd wager that it doesn't change much at all. To the cynics who would say this is simply a hopped up version of Avery's standard double IPA Maharaja, I would simply ask them to put the two beers side by side and decide themselves. To me a brewery that can make two distinct, flavorful, and well thought out double IPAs deserves some props.