Bigger, bolder, stronger…the American craft beer palate could be summed up into those three words. Sure, just about every brewery from sea to shining sea is putting out a session beer of some sort right now, but take a broad inventory of the U.S. craft beer landscape and you’ll see a bunch of dank beers that will put you on your ass. Imperial stouts, double IPAs, triple IPAs…As a rule, Americans like our beer packed with as much flavor and alcohol as we can get inside a bottle or can. We like our beers the way we like our reality shows: with plenty of melodrama.
Long live big beers.
But Portland’s Breakside Brewery has taken an interesting turn with their latest “big beer,” the India Golden Ale, a double IPA that avoids some of the DIPA stereotypes. Breakside’s India Golden Ale is built to be lighter in body and color than your typical DIPA, and you’ll notice these traits as you work your way through this beer.
India Golden Ale pours a cloudy orange and smells like that fruity headdress that Carmen Miranda wore, but it’s not the bold hop bomb that many of us have come to expect from double IPAs. It’s fresh, fruity and downright juicy with a bit of sweetness lingering throughout the sip, but it’s not bitter. And it only rates 60 on the IBU Richter scale, and only 8.1% in ABV. Honestly, you’ve probably had regular IPA’s that are burlier in terms of bitterness and ABV than Breakside’s India Golden Ale. Breakside’s standard IPA is no chump itself, coming in at a hefty 6.8% ABV and 65 IBUs.
What you get with the India Golden Ale though, is a bushel of tropical fruit, balanced by a mild spicy finish. Hop bomb? No. Citrus bomb? Yes. Is there such a thing as a double IPA with restraint? If so, this is it.
India Golden Ale was originally a collaboration brew with Ninkasi, and this is the first year Breakside is releasing the beer in bottles. That’s a good thing for those of us who don’t live in Portland.
Brewery: Breakside Brewery
City: Portland, Ore.
Style: Double IPA
Availability: Seasonal, 22 ounce bombers