21st Amendment Brewery, Brew Free! or Die IPA

So tonight I cracked open the last of the awesomely named Brew Free! or Die IPAs I had in the fridge. They were picked up at Sam’s Quik Shop in Durham about a month ago. (Side note: if you like beer and live in Central NC you owe it to yourself to go and visit). The can features some sweet artwork that features Lincoln busting out of Mt. Rushmore to, I can only assume, grab a brew. Canned on 11/14/11, 7% abv, “IPA with a solid malt backbone & hoppy flavor.” Looks like we can expect a malt forward IPA which should be a nice change from the light and uber-hoppy IPAs I’ve had of late.

The beer pours a clear amber/copper with a nice white head. Lookin’ good so far. The smell is surprisingly malty for an IPA with some nice biscuity/bready tones. At the end of the nose, some earthy pine-like tones emerge from the hops. Taste is deliciously hoppy and bitter with the mellowing malt coming in midway to chill things out. Hops are mainly citrusy with grapefruit tones. I’m really digging the maltiness of this (caramel) which almost leans it towards an English Style IPA but the hops bring it back across the pond. Ends with the nice clean IPA bitterness I’ve come to expect. After a few sips there is some very strong lacing coming from the ring that has replaced the head. Mouthfeel is medium weight with a certain hop oil presence and a mild alcohol presence.

Pic taken on so's Macbook, please excuse image quality

So, this is the only IPA I’ve had in a can, although the super-pale-ale that is Dale’s Pale Ale comes close. It’s still somewhat unusual to see craft beer in a can though this is changing, especially now that Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are rolling out beer in cans. This is an excellent IPA that stands out from the crowd with its DIPA strength malt, definitely something I’d pick up again. Only downside I can find is that the hops are a bit one dimensional.

Rating: A-


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February 2012



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