As the craft beer movement continues to expand, fresh ideas become necessary. No matter how good a brewery’s flagship beers might be, beer geeks, by nature, have promiscuous palates. Certainly, breweries need their core beers to be solid and readily available because they are the beers that introduce new customers to the brewery and they are the beers avid fans fall back on in moments of indecision: “Oh, I don’t know what I want! Just give me a Fat Tire.”
Indeed, Fat Tire is how most people discovered New Belgium Brewing but it’s not what keeps them coming back. That responsibility belongs to the Lips of Faith series which features adventurous, curiosity-piquing, experimental ales that intrigue already-loyal customers. What of Boulder’s Upslope Brewing Company, though? Yes, their Craft Lager and Pale Ale have become BBQ staples in Colorado but what’s keeping Upslope from becoming stagnant? What’s new and innovative? What’s catching the attention of beer geeks? Thai Style White IPA (6.5% ABV), that’s what!
Color: Yellow like a Kansas wheat field with just a touch of haze, Thai Style White IPA boasts a fluffy and bright white head.
Aroma: The can for Thai Style White IPA takes a lot of guesswork out of this review. It states on its ingredient list: “snowmelt, malt, citrus hops, ginger, coriander, Thai basil, lemongrass, Belgian Wit Yeast.” It’s hard to sniff-out snowmelt and this beer isn’t really malt-forward but everything else gives off an obvious aroma. Maybe the hops not as much; Thai Style White IPA leans more towards the “white” than it does the “IPA.”
Taste: There’s a quick spritz of lemony hops and then the taste finishes with basil and typical Belgian yeast spiciness, mostly coriander. The hops do become more apparent in the aftertaste but they’re far from the star ingredient. The ginger begins to build-up in the aftertaste, too, alongside the hops.
Mouthfeel: Thai Style White IPA is medium thick and wetter than most IPAs, a style that typically finishes dry. With time, this beer does dry out the mouth, it just doesn’t happen as quickly as it does in other IPAs.
Overall, Thai Style White IPA would probably be enjoyed more so by witbier lovers than by IPA lovers; it leans much more heavily on the Belgian side than it does on the hoppy side. Nonetheless, it’s not without a bit of humulus lupulus so it’s still deserving of the “IPA” appellation.
Beer geeks will always buy from Upslope’s mainstays, they’re too tasty to ignore. But, like an old married couple, it becomes necessary to spices things up once in a while. Thai Style White IPA is that spice (both literally and figuratively). Check for it at the local liquor store and give it a shot.