There’re two major divisions in beer: those that use ale yeast and those that use lager yeast. Ale yeast is a top-fermenter, is most active in slightly warmer conditions, and will typically do its job (turning sugar into alcohol) in a fairly timely manner. Lager yeast feeds on the bottom, prefers cooler temperatures, and ferments at a more leisurely pace. Ale yeast is also more assertive; the banana-like scents of a Hefeweizen and the spiciness of a saison are the ale yeast’s doing and, even in ales that emphasize malts or hops (e.g. pale ales, stouts, barleywine…etc.), the yeast is still more dominant than in lager beers. Lager yeast is laid-back; it allows other ingredients to shine through, it doesn’t crave attention.
The casual nature of the lager inspired AC Golden Brewing Company—the craft beer research and development segment of Coors—to create the next installment in the Colorado Native series: IPL (6.5% ABV) or India Pale Lager. Since, in an India Pale Ale, the hops are supposed to be the star of the show, AC Golden decided to remove the competition, remove ale yeast and its fruity esters and fusel alcohol, and introduce a yeast strain more amenable to the flavors and aromas of humulus lupus.
Color: IPL is crystalline in its clarity. It is a light honey-yellow gem topped with thick, pure white foam.
Aroma: The aroma is modest; it doesn’t pack the usual IPA wallop of intense pine and nasal-singeing fumes. It’s a bit grassy and a bit herbal with either (or both) pear and apple underlying. It’s a smell that makes one want to bury their nose in the glass and breathe deeply.
Taste: First, a flash of grapefruit. Then, a flash of herbal notes. After that, a flash of pine and lemon. The entirety of IPL’s flavor is presented in flashes; one can only taste the hops for a moment before they dissipate. Some may drink IPL and call for more hops but, at 62 IBUs, it’s plenty hoppy; it’s just that most people are used to tasting hops accompanied by ale yeast and the additional flavors it brings to the beer, not unobtrusive lager yeast which allows hops to taste like what hops taste like. There is little to no bitterness and absolutely no aftertaste to IPL; it doesn’t coat the mouth, eat at enamel, and stick with the drinker for hours. It doesn’t leave the drinker with boozy breath. If anything, drinking IPL feels like a palate cleansing experience.
Mouthfeel: IPL is light, dry, crisp, and snappy. It leaves no residual heat.
Like the other Colorado Native, IPL is brewed with all Colorado ingredients so not only can customers truly appreciate the hops, they can truly appreciate the local hops. Check-out AC Golden’s latest flagship beer almost anywhere in the state but nowhere outside of the state because, like it’s big brother Coors circa the early 20th Century, IPL is only sold in Colorado.