I've written about a lot of IPA's here; I confess they remain my favorite type of beer. I've developed beer crushes on many. This involves trying a new IPA - new to me, that is - falling in love immediately, gushing about it in texts to friends, buying 3 sixers of it as if the government were about to ration it, and growing so sick of it that I gave most of it away to homeless guys. I guess my point is that I have overrated a few IPAs on first blush.
Given this schoolboyish crush background in terms of high IBU beers, I'm going to carefully approach my review of Smuttynose Big A IPA. The Manchester, NH brewery is new to Chicago and I recently tried their standard IPA, eponymously titled. It was too heavily hopped on the finish, imbalanced. Smuttynose resolved this issue with the Big A. It has a massive grapefruit hop nose, a pale yellow-orange color, and a mouthfeel on the creamy end. What sets this one apart is the seamless flavor, the silkyness of the malts that seem perfectly married to the hops so that the hop punishment only catches up with you at the end. This beer recalled Pliny The Elder although I don't know if I'd put it in that class at this point. Yet I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This beer has a perfectly balanced blend of malt and hops, kind of like that girlfriend who has such a caustic wit, you'll wonder if she'll crack on your dad's tie the first time she meets him, yet she can give you the most delicate kiss on the lips that your hairs stand up - in my case, make that eyebrow hair.
I'll be revisiting this one. Experience has taught me not to rush out and buy two cases of it.
4.8 of 5 stars. Extremely well made.