Tasting Notes: Hatchery Series NE Style IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company

SWNEIPAPour_editedThings get a little hazy as we close the week with some Tasting Notes on Hatchery Series Release #5 – NE Style India Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia).

Arriving as the fifth release from SweetWater’s pilot system (a.k.a. The Hatchery), NE Style India Pale Ale is the brewery’s experimental, small-batch take on the hazy IPAs that are currently running rampant throughout the country.  With a hop bill comprised of Centennial, Amarillo, Azacca, Idaho 7 and El Dorado hops, this offering is meant to be an “extremely hoppy beer” that has the New England IPA’s signature “restrained bitterness and . . . soft mouthfeel.”  Staying true to the Hatchery’s focus on experimentation, the brewers at SweetWater did take some liberties with the style by adding “flaked rye for a bit of a dirty southern twist.”  Hatchery Series Release #5 – NE Style India Pale Ale (7.5% ABV and 50 IBUs) is available now for a limited time in Tackle Box Variety 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and throughout the rest of SweetWater Brewing’s distribution area.

With those pertinent details now properly covered, I do believe it is time to work our way through this haze and put down some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Hatchery Series NE Style India Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company

Appearance: SweetWater’s NE Style India Pale Ale fills the glass with a cloudy, deep golden yellow colored brew wearing just over a finger of bright white foam that is lightly stained with a streak of sediment.  The beer is more than adequate in the haze department, and that sediment turns up again as a crazy amount of floaties are suspended throughout.  Although it is a bit on the murky side, a steady carbonation can be seen coursing within.  Head retention is good, eventually falling to a lasting half finger of creamy foam that leaves chunky bands of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma:  Absolutely saturated with tropical fruits, the nose leads with a note of straight up orange juice that is followed by tones of tangerine, pineapple, apricot and grapefruit.  That fruity sweetness mellows out just enough to allow the development of a piney and dank hop presence.  The profile closes with a pleasant earthiness and a barely decipherable pale malt sweetness.

Taste:  The brewery uses the term “fruit cocktail” to describe this beer, and they are spot on as juicy fruits dominate the flavor.  Sweet mango and peach hit the tongue first and then it is awash with a variety of fruit juices: a mix of orange, pineapple and grapefruit juices spiked with a zing of lemon.  As that lemon sharpness builds, the palate encounters a dank, hoppy bite of resinous pine and the experience finishes with a tinge of earthy, spicy rye.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in both body and carbonation, this brew has a nice and soft texture to it.  Although it is gentle and pillowy on the palate, it still retains a light hoppy bite that cleans up rather quickly.  The ABV is well hidden and pretty non-existent for 7.5%.  The aftertaste is minimal, but does leave behind a bit of pine, pineapple and grapefruit.

Final Thoughts:  When all is said and done, Hatchery Series Release #5 – NE Style India Pale Ale comes together as a nice tribute to the OG New England-style IPAs that may not have been much to look at – think The Alchemist’s Heady Topper and its label directing you to “Drink From the Can” – but still have that trademark mouthfeel and reduced bitterness.  Although it may be reduced, be warned that this brew does still retain some building bitterness that acts as a constant reminder that it is indeed an IPA.  Also, the rye addition was a unique Southern touch that contributed to the haziness/cloudiness and added some earthy spice that mingled well with the beer’s overall dankness, but it could also act as a bit of surprise for those seeking a straight-up New England-style IPA.  That said, it still has that lush, juicy experience that everyone is after and . . . it just works.  If you keep the word “experimental” in mind while drinking this one, you are going to walk away from your pour a happy hop head.  Be sure to check this one out before its limited run comes to end.  Prost!