Craft beer festivals are a great way to try new beer. It is an opportunity for breweries to show a microcosm of what they have to offer, whether it be year round flagship beers or seasonal releases. Back a few weeks ago, we attended the Mariner’s Museum Craft Beer Festival and had that opportunity to do just that with a few local suds slingers. But rule number 1 (okay, more like rule 26) of writing reviews is that you don’t get the best notes or representation of the beer when you are running around with thousands of your closest friends. But what you can do is find a few you like, and track them down later. Well it just so happened we were able to find this one the following week and it was well worth it.
Pocahoptas, Center of the Universe Brewing Co. (Ashland, VA)
American IPA, ABV: 6.8%, IBU: 72
Presentation: Bomber pour into pint glass.
Appearance: Medium dark orange to copper in color, very minimal whitish head that laced the side of the glass.
Smell: Citrus and hops fill the nose, dry hopping very apparent
Taste: Light and crisp, the citrus from the hops hits first and stays throughout the taste. Slight bitterness in the middle but the late addition of fresh hops and crystal malts keeps it from running away.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: Again we bring up the dry hopping. This gives a balanced mouthfeel. Hops are present, but not chewy. While you can get all of the 72 IBUs, it is not overpowering and palatable for the even the ‘lesser’ hopheads. You also don’t get a strong alcohol profile either, and 6.8% is a middle-of-the-road IPA strength. Some hops linger towards the end so it is not a complete reset, but it is enjoyable throughout the beer.
Overall: You can see a trend nowadays for breweries to create hop profiles through the addition of a secondary process. Dry hopping creates a taste that is slightly stronger than a straight forward IPA but mellower than a DIPA without the heavy profile. This allows craft beer makers to (1) show off the talent of the brew masters and (2) offer their product year round. We found all of the above in drinking this beer. It is the best beer I have had from Center of the Universe to this point and stacks up there with some of the best IPAs in the state. As we mentioned this is a beer that can stand up in the winter but light enough in the summer as well, but the transitional months is where it really shines, so put this on you list now. I’m diving into the 9 territory with this beer and think this can really stack up with other VA/US dry-hopped IPAs.