There are enough IPAs on the market today to make your head spin.
In most cases, the colorful, esoterically named cans convey little useful information to the consumer, instead just providing an eye-catching sparkle on the shelf.
In the case of the New England IPA (NEIPA), many beers in this newly accepted style offer two to three notes of under-attenuated beer, while dying off on the palate and leaving no semblance of the traditional IPA experience, or it’s malt-hop interaction driven complexity.
This style, however, has been hugely successful due in large part to these differences; actually appealing to a broader spectrum of beer consumers that never acquired a taste for bitterness. The new aficionados adore the juice-like quality of these brews and the ensuing exciting tropical notes that such new hop varieties can impart when utilized as aroma hops in the brewing process.
One of the best examples of the style is out again this year, and it happens to be from Saranac. It is far from the two-trick pony all too common from most recent NEIPA iterations that tend to taste more like carbonated juice than beer.
Saranac’s “Permafrost” DIPA is the third release from their rotating “Inner Circle” IPA series. And if hazy, tropical IPAs are your thing, well then this unfiltered, soft Double IPA is just the brew you have been looking for.
Brewed with Australian and American hops “Permafrost” combines huge aromas of citrus, tropical fruit and pineapple. One delightful whiff from this juicy fermentation is enough to take your mind off to a sunny island of its choosing. And, at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) this liquid is almost too easy to drink.
Plenty of Saranac fans are well acquainted with their core beers, and their accessible drinkability, but if you have not dipped into the “Inner Circle” series, which I am sure you have heard me, time and time again, recommend putting them on your beer docket.
Each release almost always hits the mark and highlights innovation taking place in the West End, while also showcasing local, world class brewing talent.
“Permafrost” should be around for another month or so, one would hope, but it is best served as quickly as possible so that the hop character pops with fruity freshness.
Should you miss this one, you will have to wait for the next limited release to wash away such regret...and chances are it may be just as exciting.
This week’s recommendation: Saranac Permafrost, an unfiltered, Double IPA with immense tropical hop aromas. 8.5 percent ABV, Utica, New York.
— Colin Hubbell is co-owner of the Green Onion Pub and The Beer Hub in South Utica.