We don’t drink beer because it simply tastes okay, or because it invokes a particular “meh” feeling. Beer is supposed to be delicious outside of whatever mood-enhancing effects its ingredients may have. Some beer isn’t, and sadly many people drink it anyways. Some beer goes beyond the norm, and even more sadly not many people drink enough of it. We’re here to tell you about that second kind of beer, the one that’s great but maybe flies under the radar a bit – to discover, explore, and venture out a bit. Personally, it’s why I generally have a policy of not reviewing beers I’ve known for a long time (with exceptions for what’s in my kegerator because after 45 pints you KNOW a beer). I would rather feature the beers which capture my attention the first time I take a sip, because those are the best ones to discover in the far flung barns and dive bars of the craft beer world. Which brings us to this beer, one I discovered on our first night out after our second little one was born. I ordered it on name and style recognition, to be sure, but my reaction prompted a friend to change his order. And that is precisely what I’m looking for in my beers.
Ghost, 3 Stars Brewing Co. (Washington, DC) – @3starsbrewing
White IPA, 5.9% ABV, ~45 IBUs
Presentation: Tallboy can pour into tuliped pint glass.
Appearance: Somewhere on the darker side of goldenrod, with hints of orange. Medium head with some lattice.
Taste: Drawing closer to an APA than IPA, piney notes dominate the nose and body, but mellow out for the finish. Some mild citrus aromas offered up by the Citra Hops aren’t as forceful as in some other brews featuring that trendy (and delicious!) ingredient as the Amarillo and Columbus Hops provide balance. Unlike other Citra-infused beers, it’s really only an upfront presence so your choice of glassware will really matter to best experience all this beer has to offer.
Mouth Feel: Milder than one might expect, even if the hops will linger on the sides and back of your tongue for an extended period. Extended, in this case, refers to several minutes after the fact. String a few strong gulps together and it may just get you through dinner!
Overall: Exceptional execution. That’s what I want in my beers. None of this, “we tried, and it’s pretty decent BUT…” Experimentation is great if you’re out doing a flight to compare styles (or compare within a style), but if I’m stocking my fridge with a sixer or sixtel then I need to be able to salute my beer and call it Sir. And that’s what Ghost gives you. From the first sip to the last, it evinces the iconic “Ghost reporting!” entrance of a unit from a certain RTS game. And damn if it didn’t add some extra kick to my Kung Pao tonight. The lime, ginger, and peanuts in the dish really complemented this White IPA, with the chili peppers one-upping the hoppy bitterness in a fight to dominate my taste buds. That’s how you make a beer. It should pair up with – and enhance – your food, mood, and ambience rather than distract you. And that’s why this pack of tallboys has a spot in the fridge right now. Well done, 3 Stars!