The Americans behind Batch Brewing have created a West Coast IPA that’ll blow Sydney craft beer geeks away.
It pours incredibly clear. It’s fairly light in colour, a solid gold but no haze or amber richness that you sometimes get in IPAs. It’s a beautiful thing to look at and on point with what American IPAs should look like.
It smashes you on the nose with a big tropical burst – mango, grapefruit. For the poms, it smells like a tropical Solero! It’s possibly the best smell in the world.
Sipping it, there’s some initial resin followed by a slightly less tropical and more piney flavour across the palate. There’s some slickness across the tongue but it finishes with a strong bitterness and a dry sensation across the back of your mouth.
The bitterness lingers and it keeps you going back for me. Like good West Coast IPAs it’s a little bit rough with you. The hoppy bitter taste thrashes around your mouth and dries your tongue.
Then you get another big whiff of those fruity and citrus aromas and you dive in again.
A Bit About the West Coast IPA Style
The West Coast IPA is a style that has dragged craft beer forward in the USA. Its trademark is the big, bold hop flavours and resinous character.
Craft brewers in the US have had a bit of an arms race when it comes to IPAs, to get the hoppiest, most bitter and booziest beer possible. This is something we’re starting to see in Australia but to a lesser extent.
Maybe this is the reason why this beer comes in at 5.8% and there’s very little booziness too it. Perhaps Australian drinkers aren’t that bothered about having a big boozy IPA, over six or seven percent. Or perhaps it’s that we’ve jumped to wanting sessionability in our IPAs.
Either way, this level of alcohol is perfect for this beer as it really lets the hops do the work without any fusel flavours or boozy aftertaste coming into the equation.
Pouring the last of this beer from Batch’s distinctive bomber, I got some sediment in the glass which suggests the beer is still very much alive and kicking in the bottle.
Behind Batch Brewing are some very savvy Americans, so it’s no wonder they’ve executed this beer to perfection. It’s precise in its hop profile and the malt provides just enough of the golden colour and a trace of sweetness just to offset the bitterness and add to the character.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Batch are one of my favourite Sydney breweries and this is a prime example of why. They pump out beers at a rate of knots but each one is not only unique but produced to such a high quality and they mix unique and original innovations with beers that are bang on style.
This West Coast IPA is an example of the latter. And it’s a treat for Sydney beer geeks that you can get this style, so fresh locally.
Sometimes the US IPAs reach us in sub-optimal condition, where the hop aromas and flavours have faded a bit. So it’s brilliant that we can get this big bitter bite with pumping fruity flavours right here.
It’s best to drink a beer like this as fresh as possible. I drank mine a couple of months after it was bottled. I generally have a three month rule with hoppy beers but I still would like to drink beers like this at their freshest.
The tropical, citrus flavours stay strong right down to the final drop.
I poured it in a Spiegelau IPA glass and I raise that glass in the hope that Batch brew more of this for the summer. It would be a go-to beer for the warmer months.
Released not long after was 4 Pines Keller Door: West Coast Red Rye IPA which, if you like this, is worth trying if you can get hold of it.
Beer style: West Coast IPA
Pair with: A deep breath of air and another swig of this beer.
Have you tried Batch’s West Coast IPA? What did you think? Did it match up to some of the American IPAs? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.