Tasting Notes: Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit from SweetWater Brewing

squeezebox-bottle-smallSince the wildly popular India Pale Ale style has been inexplicably missing from Tasting Notes as of late, we shall remedy this situation by pouring up a Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit from SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia) to feature in this week’s segment.

Not too long ago, I let you all know of SweetWater Brewing Company’s plans to release Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit this November as the brewery’s newest winter release in their Catch n’ Release Series of seasonal brews (click here to check that out).  Just as the name suggests, this offering is a juicy India Pale Ale boasting “five tropical hop additions and dosed with a shot of . . . grapefruit.”  This 6.1% ABV IPA is available now through January and can be found in 12 oz. cans, 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, in the Winter Variety Mixed 12-Pack of cans and bottles, and on draft.  Look for this one to turn up at craft beer retailers in Alabama, Florida, and throughout SweetWater’s full distribution footprint.  With the pertinent background information now covered, let’s pop open this can and get to some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit from SweetWater Brewing Company

Appearance: Squeeze Box presents itself as a copper-hued orange in color.  Held to direct light, these deep, burnt oranges gain intensity and brilliance.  The beer is completely clear and displays a lively carbonation activity surging skyward to feed the head.  Speaking of that head, the pour produced two fingers of creamy, white foam that slowly falls to a tight, lasting half finger. The foam proves that it has some good stick to it by painting patterns of lace across the glass.

Aroma: The aromatic profile of this beer is absolutely dominated by grapefruit zest and juice.  Incredibly citrusy and inviting.  Surprisingly, the hop presence is not as pungent as one might expect from an IPA brewed by SweetWater.  Instead, a more reserved tropical hop presence is here to lend notes of citrus, pineapple and mango to further support the showcased grapefruit.  I believe “alluring” is the proper word to use here.

Taste: The grapefruit certainly came to play here and it once again leads the way.  That grapefruit character is ridiculously clean and allows you to experience every aspect of the fruit: pith, meat, juice and zest.  The hops meld easily with the grapefruit and further intensify this juicy experience by adding notes of tangerine, mango, papaya, and an extra punch of grapefruit bitterness.  The malt sweetness is nicely amplified to act as a lovely counterbalance to the sharp and bitter qualities of the grapefruit.  A lot of thought went into creating this balancing note in a way that avoids being cloyingly sweet or distracting from the added grapefruit, and it is spot on.  Mighty tasty.

Mouthfeel: This brew is on the lighter side of medium in body with a big carbonation presence.  This wonderfully crisp sip creates an experience that is easy drinking and outstandingly refreshing.  The ABV at 6.1% is nicely hidden and only tickles the throat occasionally with the faintest of heat.  Spoiler alert: the aftertaste is all grapefruit goodness.

Final Thoughts: There is no denying that Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit is another home-run from SweetWater Brewing Company.  The grapefruit is superbly presented, translating in both flavor and aroma as incredibly clean, natural and refreshing.  The hop varietals utilized here were the perfect selections to support and complement the featured grapefruit while taking nothing away from it.  With all of that said, what I really dig about this beer is the slightly elevated malt presence that tempers the bitter grapefruit with just enough sweetness.  It is reminiscent of sprinkling sugar on your morning grapefruit, and it is flawlessly executed.  If fruit-forward IPAs are your jam, make a note to try some Squeeze Box IPA with Grapefruit during its current release as a winter seasonal.  Prost!