Shifting gears again and heading over to 12 Gates Brewing Company. This first beer I’ve reviewed before and wholeheartedly enjoyed so I’m excited to revisit it. 12 Gates Brewing Company’s West Coast Style IPA, one of my favorite Buffalo brewed IPA’s. More often than not I’ve always got a stock of these lingering in the fridge waiting for a good time! And if not, I can always head over to my parent’s house and raid my Dad’s fridge because he always seems to have a solid stock of them.
Side note, I was informed by a brewer from 12 Gates Brewing Company the recipe has been updated and changed. The malts have been changed to strictly Pale Malt. The grapefruit peels have been removed and there has been an addition of 2 other hops, Cascade and Centennial.
The Beer: West Coast Style IPA by 12 Gates Brewing Company
ABV: 6.7% IBU: 69
Style: West Coast IPA
Hops: Vertical Vines Cascade
Malts: Pale Malt
Crack It Open
12 Gates opens with a bang, this beer pours pure excellence! A hazy pale straw/ golden color with a very nice head to top it off, 2-3 finger widths. The girth in the head dissipates but what is left behind shouldn’t be taken for granted. A very thick creamy head that I’m sure will remain till the last drop leaves me glass.
The aromas add an even more lasting impression that I feel enhances the flavor of the beer. Packed with a strong tropical feeling, predominantly leaning more towards the citrus end of the spectrum, though that should be no surprise to anyone. I’m also getting notes of the grapefruit as well as a mellowing mango aroma. It almost softens the bite of the citrus and grapefruit aromas that seem to really jump out.
Unfortunately I have limited amount of cans left, so I’m really struggling to take it slow with the drinking. Otherwise I would most likely find myself 4-5 deep by the time I’m finished writing.
The beginning of each sip is amazing, crisp with a capital ‘C.’ The citrus and grapefruit aromas really carry though at this point. A crisp tropical beginning, predominantly citrus and grapefruit. There is no citrus bite to it, which is nice. Keeps the path clear for the bitterness to kick in. The citrus and grapefruit flavors carry through the entire sip. But towards the middle I’m noticing a bit more mango sneaking its way into the mix. The mango lends a small mellowing touch, but at the same time helps to push the citrus and grapefruit flavors out into the open. As I’m transitioning to the end of the sip and swallow there are certain things to take note of. I’m sensing a touch of bitterness beginning to make its break through. A key note for West Coast IPA’s. If you let it sit for sometime the bitterness tends to spark up a bit. Not to an overwhelming amount but a perfect combination with the citrus that is packed into this beer. After sitting back and giving it some thought, I’m thinking the grapefruit peels in the dry hop are kicking in. I’m noticing a small touch of a citrusy bite accompanying the bitterness. The two of them combined create the perfect transition for the end heading into the aftertaste.
At the end of each sip, I’m noticing with each swallow a small surge of pure citrus bite. I’m finding some difficulty describing it though. The only way I can think of is imagine you’re on a roller coaster and you’re going up the big hill of the track, as you begin to go down you think ‘this is it’ but truly it’s a small downhill and then it straightens out. Suddenly out of nowhere the straight shot down. The citrus bite is the small downhill which then straightens out and shortly after is the straight down hill. In this case the straight downhill is the bitterness kicking in. The Warrior hops jump in at this point and add the perfect finishing touch to the swallow. There is a very brief moment where the citrus mellows out but then the bitterness kicks in providing the perfect climax.
The aftertaste is excellent! There is a lingering bitterness that reminds you this isn’t just simple beer off the shelf. This beer holds its own as West Coast Style IPA! Though it won’t smack you silly with bitterness, but it is easily seen that it was conceived with a West Coast thought in mind. The bitterness pairs very well with the citrus aftertaste that in my opinion lingers for quite some time. I’m not sure if I would want to, but it might be difficult switching to another beer, 12 Gates made this IPA to make a lasting impression and it will stick with you for some time.
A side note that I feel is very important is the ‘clean malt foundation’ mentioned by 12 Gates. Throughout the entire sip I was able to notice the impression the malts left on this beer. They may not be as obvious, but if you take the time to really appreciate them it makes West Coast Style IPA even more enjoyable.
I’m Out of Cans
Hmm…I’m down to my last few sips. I am very pleased to say I enjoyed revisiting West Coast Style IPA for a second time. Though I did enjoy it the first time, I feel as I was able to appreciate it more and find myself very thankful to have the opportunity. There are West Coast IPA’s that smack you in the face with bitterness to the point of no return. Not this one, this one allows you to enjoy every sip to its full potential. Yes it was bitter, but it didn’t get in the way of the other flavors of the beer. All around a solid IPA, all around a solid West Coast Style IPA.
12 Gates, what else can I say great job!