This week’s installment of Tasting Notes provides us with an early jump on the weekend as we get into a little Daycation IPA from Highland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina).
To provide their fans with a bit of an escape from daily life, Highland Brewing Company launched Daycation IPA as their newest year-round offering back in March. While creating the recipe for this low-gravity, sessionable IPA, the brewers at Highland intently focused on the grist bill – comprised of six malts: 2 Row Brewers Malt, White Wheat, Rye, Vienna, Caramel 20 and Flaked Oats – so that they could achieve a “desired balance and body” that would make a memorable impression on the drinker. Once this goal was met, the recipe was then loaded with Mosaic, Azacca and El Dorado hops to yield a refreshing, 4.9% ABV India Pale Ale that is packed with “tropical, lemony, pineapple leaf flavors and aromas, perfectly balanced with a bready, bright, sessionable body.” Daycation IPA is available now as a year-round offering. You can find this brew available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and throughout the rest of Highland Brewing’s distribution footprint.
Now that the particulars are out of the way, it is finally time to kick back and experience all that a Daycation has to offer!
Tasting Notes for Daycation IPA from Highland Brewing Company
Appearance: Daycation IPA presents itself pale golden in color with a solid finger of fluffy white foam resting on top. Held to the light, the color softens even more to expose some straw-colored tones. The body is immaculately clear and displays a bustling carbonation activity. Although stubbornly persistent, the head eventually falls to a thin but complete top cap that sporadically spots the glass with lace.
Aroma: Ripe to overly ripe peaches hit the nose first with a bright, juicy sweetness. This is followed quickly by an interesting mix of mango, pine and grassiness. Things then take a tropical turn as lemon, tangerine and pineapple all raise their hands for roll call. The aroma closes with a lightly-sweet, cracker malt presence. Beautifully dynamic and complex here.
Taste: Papaya and its slightly spicy/peppery seeds delightfully kick off the flavor experience and open up further to expose a wealth of tropical fruits. Mango, pineapple, tangerine, sweet orange, cantaloupe and grapefruit are all accounted for. A wave of earthiness then moves in with piney, grassy and floral tones. Consistent with the nose, the flavors subside to expose a wisp of bready malt character.
Mouthfeel: This beer is light in body and has a spirited level of carbonation. Although it is light, the beer still retains some weight to it. It is difficult to explain, but it possesses an airy creaminess that allows its flavors to casually move across the palate. With that said, the beer remains ridiculously refreshing, easy drinking and clean. At 4.9% ABV, there is no indication of alcohol presence. Just bitter enough on the palate to remind you that this is an IPA, but not at all aggressive. Aftertaste is just a touch of citrus and pine.
Final Thoughts: Overall, Daycation IPA coolly represents all that I expect when I think “Session IPA”. It quickly checks the boxes of light and easy drinking, but it still showcases a level of complexity that demands your attention. The aromas and flavors sourced from the hop bill are markedly impressive and dynamic. Its hoppy bitterness has enough presence to grab you by the palate, but it then politely excuses itself before any destruction can take place. Then you have the malt bill . . . I never thought I would be noting the exceptional mouthfeel of a Session IPA, but here I am. Being both airy and noteworthy, the feel and texture of this beer is nearly indescribable. Everything about this beer keeps things interesting and complex while somehow remaining effortlessly approachable. Honestly, not a gripe can be found. In fact, the best course of action here is to just close the laptop and have another pour. Prost!