For this edition of Tasting Notes, we close out the week seeking refuge from the summer heat in a Painted Cave Guava India Pale Ale from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. (Buellton, California).
Created to honor “the beautiful painted caves hidden throughout the west”, Painted Cave is a Seasonal India Pale Ale brewed with Citra, El Dorado, and Simcoe hops to “impart a tropical fruit profile with bright citrus and pine notes.” Pink guava purée is then introduced to add a juicy level of complexity and balance. Weighing in at 7.25% ABV and 55 IBUs, Painted Cave comes together to offer an alluring display of flavors and aromatics.
Painted Cave Guava India Pale Ale is available now for a limited time in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft. You can expect to find this Seasonal Rotation offering at select craft beer establishments located throughout Figueroa Mountain’s distribution footprint in California and Arizona.
Alright. It’s hot. We are thirsty. It’s time for some Tasting Notes. Let’s get it!
Tasting Notes for Painted Cave Guava India Pale Ale from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.
Appearance: Painted Cave is an orange-laced, deep golden in color and is capped with just over a finger of creamy white foam. When held to direct light, the orange hues filter out to leave a strikingly vibrant gold to shine on its own. Rocking the softest haze possible, this beer is mostly clear and displays a super energetic carbonation presence darting about within. Retention is good, but the head ultimately reduces to a thin, but complete cap that drops down some sizable spots of lace after each pull.
Aroma: The guava absolutely billows from the glass, setting the tone with a pleasantly musty, tropical character. The tropical trend continues from there with notes of papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, mango and melon. A bright grapefruit tone and a touch of earthiness then surface to close out the profile. This thing is all guava and hops on the nose, and we are not mad at that.
Taste: Citra hops waste no time to assert themselves in the flavor department and kick things off with big bursts of grapefruit and passion fruit. This transitions easily to the guava’s tropical sweetness that brings along added juicy hop notes of pineapple, melon and mango. A touch of grassiness and pine works its way in at times, but is easily tamed and subdued by the more pronounced tropical tones. Pale malts turn up near the end of the experience, adding a nondescript sweetness that calls the guava out for an encore in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a peppy carbonation level, Painted Cave offers a slightly slick, oily feel that cleans up and dries out quite quickly. Balanced beautifully, this beer works the palate with a nearly equal amount of bitter and sweet. That 7.25% ABV does turn up with a bit of warmth in the throat as the pour warms, but the beer’s juicy qualities tamp that down and keep the experience easy-drinking and refreshing. The aftertaste is a soft, lingering presence of guava and passion fruit.
Final Thoughts: Skillfully crafted, absolutely every aspect of Painted Cave has been dialed in to complement and/or accentuate another. The guava coaxes out the tropical characteristics of the hops, the hops reinforce the mustiness of the guava while also adding a dynamic contrast of earthiness/pine, and the pale malts balance out all those hops and further encourage the guava to shine. It seems as though everything just instinctively knows its place, and it all comes together to become a ridiculously easy-drinking and juicy IPA that still retains its West Coast roots. Simply put, Painted Cave is an embodiment of summer that all hopheads should cross paths with at some point. Make it happen. Prost!