Thank God for Silvio Saturday. We had a busy, busy day and I’m exhausted. We took Brady to a pet expo in the morning where he got to sniff all kinds of butts. We then hung out at the in-laws all day. Lots of driving. Me and Brady are crashed on the couch, and he won the race to see who would fall asleep first. Onward, Silvio!
Reading Josh’s vacation recap posts this week (especially the Allagash Brewery tour!) got me thinking about great vacation spots leading up to my review, and in particular another cool coastal destination – Northern California. I’ve spent a lot of time in the NorCal area in recent years due to my wife’s roots there, our San Fran wedding, and work trips. Every time I visit, I’m always left thinking about the laid-back people, beautiful scenery, and most relevant to this post – the incredibly hoppy local IPAs.
So, when I opened up my fridge to pick this week’s review beer, North Coast Brewing Company’s Acme California IPA seemed like a no-brainer. I must admit the label was what caught my eye, but it went right into my basket once I read its attributes. The pour was nice, but a cloudy amber ale hue, which was much lighter than what I’m used to from West Coast IPAs. The foam situation was a little unique – a quick foam head with about 1 ½ fingers but the majority of it evaporated quickly, leaving just a thin layer of foam on top. However, the thin foam layer was steadily fed by lots of carbonation from below and it stuck around for the entire glass, even when I was taking my last sip.
Taste-wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The bottle said IPA, but the color made me think wheat ale. The aroma was an unmistakable bitter hoppy fragrance though, so I figured I was in for a treat. My first sip reaction was an audible “wow.” The hoppy bitterness really hits me square in the mouth. This beer is much, much hoppier than I expected, probably among the top three strongest hops flavors I’ve ever reviewed on LIBA. But since I’m a stanky-hops kind of guy, it’s all good.
Subsequent sips consistently held the same pattern. I detected some sour, fruity notes but nothing too distinct. I’d like to say it’s a true middle taste between pine and citrus, but can’t describe it as any one flavor. The aftertaste is a little sour, but goes away quickly. Overall, a bitter hoppiness is definitely the dominant taste. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of lacing left on my glass, testament to the carbonation and stubborn thin foam crown. The brew weighs in at a respectable 6.5% ABV.
There’s even a cool back-story to this brew and brewery. North Coast started brewing craft beers in 1988, and they’ve got lots of awards noted on their website. The Acme line is apparently a throwback recipe taken from the now-defunct Acme brewery line, with roots to 1860’s San Francisco. Overall, I’d definitely recommend this beer for all you IPA and hops lovers, and I’m going to make a mental note to check out their brewery on my next trip to the Left Coast.