Tropicália India Pale Ale

I know I’ve mentioned this a few times, but there are certain beers that carry weight with only a name. Heady Topper, Pliney the Elder, and more locally, Snake Handler are a few beers that can turn a few heads if you say it in the right company. There’s a brewery in Athens, Georgia producing one of those beers right now. Tropicália is a fantastic take on the American IPA and the buzz around it is nothing to mock. Here are my thoughts:

First off, I love everything about Creature Comfort’s branding. All of the design elements of their brand are built on clean lines and bright colors. The brewery is housed in a beautifully renovated mechanic shop. There’s reclaimed wood lining the bar and metal piping running throughout. The only bad thing about Creature Comforts and this beer specifically is the demand. Creature Comforts knows they’re brewing gold there, but it’s hard not to believe that they’re purposefully not brewing enough to meet their demands. Either way you look at it, the beer is still great and if you want a quality brew, look their direction. If you’re ever in Athens, I suggest taking the tour. Anyways, lets get to the beer.

I poured the beer into a pint glass to get every bit of the aroma and flavor that it had to offer. The beer pours a golden orange color with a thin white head that sticks around for quite a while, but after it does recede, it clings to the side of the glass quite nicely. The aroma is amazing and that’s really all you can say. A lot of prominent pine notes with strong hints of grapefruit and some subtle notes of other citrus fruits. When the beer warms a bit, the citrus aroma kicks up a little bit and you can also begin to pick up on the bread-like malt that mostly gets masked by the citrus forward hops.

Each sip begins with a powerful grapefruit peel and citrus hop takeover. Combine that with a powerful punch of grapefruit juice and you have a something that tastes more like a juice cocktail than a beer. After the grapefruit bomb, you start to pick up on some of the grassy hops that continue to build the intense flavor of the beer. There’s some light bread-like malt that builds the backbone up and rounds out the flavor. Some added alcohol flavors gives the entire beer a little kick as well as a warming aspect. After the beer warms, you get even more of the grapefruit and a pretty strong pine finish.

Mouthfeel is quite unique for an IPA of this caliber. There’s a really soft feel to the beer that’s almost like velvet. I would compare the mouthfeel to that of a stout, but I know that I’m drinking an IPA because of the hop bite that you get. There’s a complementary amount of carbonation that doesn’t really make the beer too hard to drink or too heavy. Although, let it be known that you’re not going to be pounding these. It can get a little heavy, so be warned.

Overall, this is a perfect execution of the American IPA style. There’s a great citrus complexity that pairs greatly with the bread-like backbone to create a wonderfully put together brew. You get grapefruit tartness and the dank properties of the pine and a perfectly built malt backbone. This is one beer that I cannot wait to drink again and if I can find it, I’ll buy as much as I can. Seek this one out if you want something worth writing about.

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