I’m not easily impressed. Whilst most of you that read these reviews might have the notion that I like every beer made in the Commonwealth, it’s not true. First, every brewery has their ups and downs, with the more popular ones having more of the former. Second, tastes are subjective, and that is the most humbling part about writing beer reviews. Just because we look at something or don’t look at something does not mean it does not have merit & enjoyed by many people. It reminds me of my days of sports blogging and reading player reviews. Some 5-star recruits never play past college. Some 2-star recruits become NFL Pro-bowlers. It’s the double-edged sword that we wield.
But I can say the stranglehold that the porter/stout market has had within Virginia is starting to slip towards the IPA/DIPA side of things. The past few months we have seen a ton of quality hoppy beers pop up in Virginia, and the newest one from AleWerks is no exception.
Secret Admirer, AleWerks Brewing Company (Williamsburg, VA)
Double/Imperial IPA, ABV: 8.3%
Presentation: Draft pour into tulep glass. Went opening day. No ragrets.
Appearance: Gold to deep gold in color, slightly off white head sitting perfectly at 1 finger in the glass, average dissipation for style
Aroma: Super citrusy hops, slightly green/earthy, but not to overpowering.
Taste: Medium heavy, compounding mosaic hops, citrusy/slight pine, light grassy, super clean for a DIPA but not watered down.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: You would not know this was a DIPA. As with most doubles with a majority of mosaic hops, this is not as heavy as their Bitter Valentine, or the super lingering hop feel (it has a good decent amount though), but clean throughout, never overly bitter. ABV is right on point and after one, you could tell. Too new for the IBU numbers, but if it ends in the 70-90 range, I would not be surprised.
Overall: If there every was a DIPA compliment to Bitter Valentine, it’s this beer. I would categorize it as the ‘little brother’. It is slightly less in color, hoppiness, and weight. But what it does bring to the table is a huge flavor that can be enjoyed by the hopheads and some non-hopheads alike. The release window is great as well, splitting the year with BV, and with the weather cooling down, it will hold up will til February, but not completely weigh you down till we get to the fall. We are in the 9+ territory with this beer and it is certainly right there with the other solid IPAs/DIPAs that have come out this year from Virginia.