So. I used to live within walking distance of Mad Fox. I did flights, progressives, beer festivals, brunches, lunches, dinners, happy hours, even fantasy football drafts in their gargantuan facility. And yes, they thought the draft was really cool and let us post the draft board on the windows. After a while, Ben moved a few streets up, so now you must be asking yourself, “how the heck have they not reviewed anything from Mad Fox yet??” Well, it’s that old sin where when you’ve got something in your backyard you take it for granted. But then a few months ago I up and moved a few neighborhoods over, and now suddenly I have the urge to actually, you know, say something about the very first place I ever ate after moving to Falls Church.
Mad Fox is a tough nut to crack, though. The beer list is constantly rotating with a few stalwarts always sticking around, but even the regulars seem as if they’re tinkered with incessantly. That could just be perception, a maturing palate, or paranoia. But remember, it’s only paranoia if they AREN’T out to get you…
The Man-euver, Mad Fox Brewing Company (Falls Church, VA) – @MadFoxBrewing
American Style IPA, ABV 4.9%
Presentation: Draught pour into pint glass.
Appearance: It says IPA, but man does this look like a lager. More clear gold than pale with a thick, albeit fluffy head which dissipates as if it’s out of style. Check out the carbonation in this growler pour below…
Taste: That carbonation is present for sure, but rather than making the flavors “crisp,” “effervescent,” or some other absurd adjective, it more adds an extra sheen of brightness. The floral notes from the hops shine through as a result, and the hops linger across the body and finish. What looks like a lager is in fact a darn good IPA without the palate wrecking features all those hops would suggest.
ABV/IBU: While the hops are present throughout the beer, it’s balanced by a plethora of malts. It’s almost uncanny that the Pils malts and Centennial hops produce a concoction that probably has an IBU in the lower 20s rather than 30s.
Overall: I mentioned earlier the difficulty in reviewing a Mad Fox beer even if one is a frequent guest (heck, I’ll be there tomorrow night which’ll be the third time this month!) When I told Ben I’d be focusing on an even more limited release, he noted that the pour he’d gotten came across as a bit less mature than the pint/growler I got on the night I was there.
INTERJECTION: Why do I try to reference Ben as much as I can in my posts? Because that lazy SOB refuses to write posts and sticks to twitter, so please give him plenty of crap like the rest of us do.
As I’ve hinted at in other posts, I do think that small batch/nanobrews can help brewmeisters better make changes on the fly albeit while sacrificing some consistency when they do end up getting it right. This particular release is a collaboration with Oscar Santana and Chad Dukes of “Big O and Dukes” podcast fame. I can’t say I’ve taken in their broadcasts, but I do listen to Dukes on CBS/The Fan and it doesn’t surprise me at all that this beer is almost sarcastic in the way it treats its billing as an IPA. And that’s perfectly fine with me.