This is the second year Bend, Oregon’s GoodLife Brewing has collaborated with musician G. Love & Special Sauce on a beer called Special Sauce. Last year’s iteration was an IPA called Danky Dankster, while this year takes a turn for the citrusy, more floral side of the hop world with The Juice IPA. Yes, there are a million and one juicy IPAs out there. So why drink this one? It’s all about the texture.
It’s rare to see IPA brewers call out their malts alongside their hops, but it makes sense for GoodLife to do so with this beer: Two-row, pilsner, carapils, and a healthy dose of oats give the beer a silky, medium-full mouthfeel that you rarely get from IPAs. (It seems like these days they’re either near-water session IPAs or thick as a smoothie.) A few years ago, oat pale ales and IPAs were a minor trend—I remember Bell’s Oatsmobile fondly—but it didn’t gain much traction because, presumably, customers don’t care about what malts are in their IPAs. We should, though. The thick, long-lasting, creamy head on this beer (thanks to the oats) is a thing of beauty.
Okay, I’ve dismounted from my high horse and will now get around to actually talking about the hops like everyone expects. A combination of Mandarina Bavaria, Mosaic, Centennial, Amarillo and Comet hops deliver loads of citrus in both aroma and flavor, but flanked by white floral tones that go nicely with early summer drinking. Ruby grapefruit, orange oil, and tangerine make up the main flavor trio, accented by some lemon curd and honeysuckle notes toward the end of the sip. And despite this beer’s aforementioned velvety texture, it finished cleanly—for a juicy IPA—thanks to a pleasing dose of orange-pith bitterness. For all that juice and body, it ends punctually.
This 6.8% IPA is an example of where I hope the juicy/hazy/milkshake/absolute-unit IPA trend eventually settles—all the multifaceted fruit flavor hops can deliver, silky-soft texture, but still enough bitterness to clean the palate and close the sip. I’ll take another, please.
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