The amount of great beer coming out of Georgia is astonishing. How are there so many talented brewers and people that understand to such a degree living within so few miles of each other? It’s not hard to believe when you taste beers like Burnt Hickory’s Big Shanty or Terrapin’s Rye Pale Ale, the one that started it all for them, or even a simple beer like Sweetwater’s Take Two. These guys are taking seemingly overworked and simple beers and turning them into something magnificent that allows people to rediscover a beer of the style. Such is the case with this beer; one brewed just twenty minutes north of Atlanta in Decatur. Three Taverns is a new comer to the Georgia beer scene, but they’re making an impact with amazing flavors, old principles, and producing beers that explore the bounds of your taste buds. I had the opportunity to enjoy the White Hops White IPA at a festival in Kennesaw and immediately fell in love. Something about the citrus flavors married with the taste of Belgian yeast is something fairly uncommon to me and I’m sure to many others. I picked it up at Green’s, brought it home and, honestly, enjoyed the hell out of it. Here are my thoughts:
I poured the beer into a regular pint glass, although it should have been a tulip glass, but I’m too lazy to walk into my living room to grab one, pour it, take a picture of the beer, and blah blah blah. It poured an extremely clear golden color with absolutely zero haze in the glass. I mean, this beer is almost like juice it’s so clear. There was about a quarter of a finger’s width of foam that formed and then disappeared rather quickly. I was left with a thin layer of splotchy head on top that stuck around until the end of the beer. When you smell this beer, you’re immediately hit in the face with a ton of aromas that are super strong. There are lots of grapefruit aromas, some that Belgian yeast I was talking about, and a few more uncommon things for an IPA like some peppery notes and something very floral. This thing almost has a Saison-like aroma to it, which isn’t a bad thing, but thankfully it doesn’t taste like it.
Taste is a almost a mirror of the aroma in that you get a ton of grapefruit in the beginning that’s blended very well with a nice citrus hop bitterness. There’s a slightly sweet malt flavor that you pick up on the back end that is very nice; it seems to balance out the flavors a lot. There are some of those spicy and floral flavors that show up toward the end of each sip, but it doesn’t overpower anything, because the main thing you’re getting is that nice, crisp citrus flavor from the Citra hops and the grapefruit zest used in brewing. The yeast that’s used is really dominate as the beer warms up, you start to pick up on some clove and some slight hints of a banana-like flavor that really throws you for a loop. It’s a good loop, though; trust me. This is an intensely odd brew that strays away from anything that you’ve ever had that was labeled as a White IPA. Most that I’ve had are ripping with coriander, lighter grains, and some generic hop. This takes the White IPA to another level and then says, “Oh, we’re not done yet” and proceeds to crank that bad boy up to 11. There is something really awesome in these bottles.
Mouthfeel is a little different than most IPA style beers and it should be. A little more carbonation and a little lighter body make this one the ultimate summer time brew. I could imagine myself on the back porch drinking several of these while manning the grill or even on the beach tucked away underneath my chair where the police can’t see that I have glass on the beach. Either way, this one has hot weather written all over it. Refreshing hops, light body, and a carbonation level that screams drink more of me.
Overall, this is one that will be in my rotation for a while. The mix of complex flavors and uncharted territories make for an interesting, yet perfectly executed White IPA. I can count on one hand the number of beers in this style that I’ve liked and that list starts with this one. There’s something special happening in the world of craft beer in Georgia, and if you’re not taking this opportunity to enjoy some of the best beers in the country, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Inside the Permimeter and the area just outside can be considered the craft beer hub of the southeast and I don’t think anyone can argue with that; at least not to me.

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