Monday, January 31, 2011

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale

I can admit when  I'm wrong.  I first tried Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale around a year and a half ago at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago right before a Whigs rock show.  For the first time, a Founders beer was bland to me, so I thought.  It was simply bitter without the brewer's signature flair.  Thereafter, I avoided this beer like the dude ignores the main character in A Bronx Tale whom he owes 20 bucks. If I saw Dry Hopped somewhere I ran the other way.  My running ended this past weekend.
A friend of mine recently tried this beer and liked it, and my tastes have changed quite a bit in the last year and a half, led by my exploding love for San Diego style IPA's, lean, heavily hopped, drier, citrus forward.  See any IPA from the Port Brewing roster for reference.  I had a glass of the Founders Dry Hopped at Sheffield's and found it appealing.  The head was modest and a very floral citrus nose burst forth.  Its color is light amber.  Grapefruit overwhelmingly dominates the initial flavor which quickly changes to a riveting hop acid bite and finishes clean, crisp, and dry.  This is a perfect beer for spicy foods and cannot be pinned on the mat for a 3 count by any peppers you put up against it. 

Dry Hopped is not a beer I would seek out at home; it's still rather ordinary by Founders standards.  It clearly kicks the butt of most brewers' stabs at pale ales.  Smuttynose Shoal's Pale Ale is best in show among these that I've tried in quite a while. 

PROS:  A lean, fierce pale ale that will make you take notice and give you something to drink with your uncle Joe's fire hazard chili.

CONS:  Say goodbye to your palate unless you indeed are having the chili.

VERDICT:  A quality brew but not as interesting as Founders' other offerings.  3.9 of 5 stars. 

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