Usually, when a beer comes into the Paste office, it ends up sitting around for a little while—in the line to get into the fridge, in the fridge itself, or for a special occasion. In the last year, the amount of beer that has passed through our small Atlanta office has increased to a truly ridiculous level. Even the things we’re really looking forward to sampling sometimes get lost in the flow.
That’s not the case with Grimm Artisanal Ales. When we received a few cans of their new DIPA, Pulse Wave, that was a “drink TODAY” occasion.
That’s the reputation (and level of expectation) you earn as the winners of a huge, blind tasting. Back in August, when we blind-tasted and ranked 115 double India pale ales, not a single person in the room had ever tasted something from Grimm before. Hell, we’d barely even heard of the exceedingly small-scale Brooklyn nanobrewers. The fact, then, that they captured spots #1 and #4 in a field of 115 is absolutely absurd. There’s no way that happens by chance. That’s hoppy beer mastery. Two world-class DIPAs in one tasting: Lambo Door and Tesseract.
Pulse Wave, though, feels like it was calculated a little bit differently than those two tropical hop explosions. This beer is a little bit less exuberant; a bit more structured. Less assertive; more refined. Less topical; more classical. Nouve old school, if you will. This is my fancy, writerly way of saying that Pulse Wave feels less like a genre-breaking attempt and much more like a really solid, classic, West Coast-style IPA.
On the nose, this DIPA is big on the citrus—concentrated aromatics of orange and tangerine, chased by floral notes and fresh cut grass. Multiple tasters each came to “tangerine” in particular independently of each other, with some also saying it reminded them of honeydew melon.
On the palate there’s more classic West Coast presence—big citrus and some grassiness, with medium-strength bitterness that grows in the finish. The orange citrus is quite juicy and very pleasant, with residual sugar that is fairly low (but not entirely absent) making for a significantly more crisp and drinkable IPA than many in its 8.5% ABV range. All in all, though, it strikes us as significantly more dry than either the Lambo Door or Tesseract—perhaps more of a warm weather IPA? A friend visiting the Paste office was adamant on detecting some “cedar-like” woodiness in the flavor as well. To quote him one more time: “Classic West Coast-style IPA without being ordinary.”
That’s a fine summation. Pulse Wave shows us that Grimm, while experimental, is also capable of doing versions of this style that fall a bit closer to the old-school platonic ideal. What they’ve made here is a lighter, drinkable, hoppy, dry DIPA that would probably stand up well against the Sculpins of the world.
Now at some point, we’ve got to get around to actually tasting one of their sours.
Brewery: Grimm Artisanal Ales
City: Brooklyn, NY
Style: American DIPA
Availability: Hand-labeled 16 oz cans. Good luck finding them.
Jim Vorel is Paste’s news editor. You can follow him on Twitter.