Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Green Flash Brewing Palate Wrecker Review

Green Flash is known by San Diego outsiders as the makers of ass-kicking IPA's and ridiculously hoppy beers in the patented San Diego style.  Bless them.  But in the past I have noted that they are capable of greatness, which always requires at least some restraint and nuance.  Note how their Imperial IPA, one of my all-time favorites, has its massive citrus and herbal hop profile carefully tamed by the malts.  Remarkably, their Palate Wrecker stands as maybe the best and most enjoyable example yet of a triple, or perhaps a quadruple, IPA. This is a monster, a leviathan boasting an impossible 149 IBU's!

Yes, Dogfish 120 is definitely a better beer.  But it's sweeter and - sorry - at 15% it's closer to a barleywine.  Palate Wrecker stays relatively true to the imperial IPA genre.  It was served to me in a tall tulip glass that was slightly fluted at the top, a rather lithe container for a mixture promising such brutality.  I was half-expecting it to arrive in a Viking chalice.  Its color is fiery burnt-orange/amber.  You won't be shocked by the smell or mouthfeel.  It has that Green Flash herbal-and-pine odor blended with some citrus.  The mouthfeel is moderate, but not as dense as you'd expect for a beer attempting to tame such a mind-numbing hopping.  Indeed the hops are intense but the overall result is surprisingly, in fact rather exquisitely, balanced and drinkable.  Your palate isn't as suffocated as it is with Mikkeller 1000 IBU or Founders Devil Dancer.  Palate Wrecker is more comparable to Stone's Ruination or Port's High Tide, but is far more rugged and maltier.  One sip and you'll instantly pucker.  But on a drinkability scale it easily outclasses Moylans Hop Craic.  This is pretty much the gold standard for over-the-top-hops.  And even better for the wary, it comes in 12 oz. bottles.

4.6 of 5 stars. Loved it.

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