Full disclosure: I'm an IPA guy. I like spicy, bitter beer. I loved Steve's writing in 99 Bottles, but he's left me in kind of an awkward spot, since he was an IPA guy, too. Lest you worry, plenty of other beer styles will be reviewed in this blog. But I'm starting with an IPA, and it happens to be my current favorite.
Deviant Dales Pale Ale is a hopped-up version of a pretty hoppy pale ale in its own right, Dales Pale Ale, from Oskar Blues. Dales is a good go-to beer for everyday drinking (a side note: one new feature in this column will be dedicated to "go-to" craft beers that may not be sexy and rare but will act as a guide to beer novices just getting into craft). Deviant Dales, on the other hand, is not a beer you can drink every day. At 8 percent ABV and 85 IBUs, this beer is definitely one to savor.
In describing the beer, the Colorado brewery says, "we dry-hopped the bejesus out of it." You can tell . On top of four hop additions during the brewing process, a generous dry-hopping with Columbus hops raises the aroma of this beer to a serious level. The smell of grapefruit, pineapple, and pine needles hits you in the face as soon as you pop the can. It's a citrus bomb, in a good way.
Thanks to a generous amount of malt, the beer pours amber, with a wispy head. On the first sip, the hops bite you hard. They linger in your mouth as you begin to taste the fruit and resin. The beer is sticky, but not too sweet. The malt mellows the bitterness somewhat, but only as much as malt in an 85-IBU beer can do. The beer finishes with a dry bitterness, an accomplishment considering just how much ingredient went into it.
Deviant Dale's is the brewery's first 16-ounce tallboy, and boy is it good (sorry). The black-and-red design and sheer size of the can matches the machismo of the beer. It's great marketing, but more than one of these big boys could seriously derail your evening. That problem is made even more evident by how drinkable this hop-beast is despite it's hop profile and ABV. I've been able to find this beer at several liquor stores around the city, though it certainly isn't everywhere. A four-pack will run you about $13. If that seems expensive, consider that you'd have a difficult time going through a four-pack by yourself in one night. I've pretty much always got one or two of these beers in my fridge, and for that, I consider myself lucky.
Coming up tomorrow: Four beers for the Fourth of July