It's hard to walk into a bar these days and not stumble over someone's IPA. One of the latest editions to my roster of conquered hoppy ales is out of Michigan, Traverse City's North Peak Brewing's Diabolical IPA, which manages an exacting ABV of 6.66%. Devilish. Overall, it's more noteworthy than noble.
Brewed far away from prime hop country, this one is a dark orange, almost amber, and steeped in mellow caramel malts. Pine and mild grapefruit flavors dominate the nose. It has pleasant resiny hop flavor that coats the tongue in expected fashion and a full but not gargantuan mouthfeel. This is a decent workhorse IPA from an area of Michigan known more for cherries than brews. If you are traveling there for cherry fest, boating, camping, or other outdoorsy hi jinx, and you find this at a tavern, be thankful: it will more than get the job done if it's hops you seek and the options limited.
What's really cool about this brew, though, is this bottle and its side story. Notice that the bottle for this bad boy has a Jackalope, the mythical antlered rabbit. I'm sitting at a bar with my boy, T, and he looks at the bottle and says, "Hey, that's a jackalope on the bottle". "A What?" "A jackalope." He pointed out that the jackalope myth may have originated as a means of deriding an ineffectual hunter incapable of slaying true big game and left to brag on rabbit kills. That's a plausible theory and the jackalope has probably been so used derisively. But there's an entire mythology surrounding the jackalope of which this city dwelling writer was completely unaware. Quite cool.
Combine the jackalope with the fact of this brew's home base being way north in Traverse City, which reminds me in concept of Northwoods Wisconsin and the characters out of Fargo, and sprinkle in some devil, and it makes the Diabolical far more interesting of a brew to drink. It's my drink of choice if I catch it at a lodge in Appleton, WI or Cheboygan, MI. And bring "eout" the brats, eh?
3.7 of 5 stars.