Sonoran Victorian I.P.A
This was my third 22 ouncer this week, and I have another one for tomorrow. I’m not sure how I feel about the 22’s as they tend to get warm by the time I get to the end of the bottle, but at the same time, I get a chance to taste the beer both cold and at room temperature. I suppose it’s a little bit of a win-lose situation, as warm beer never really appealed to me, and while I find most of the flavors are easier to pick out when it’s cold, the aromas are a little easier to discern when it’s warm. So am I having my cake and eating it, too?
Either way, Sonoran’s Victorian Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is a fairly nice English-style IPA all around. Right off the bat, we have an excellent soapy froth of a head, easily making 2 inches, or about 4-fingers thick. I’m continually impressed by the heads I’ve been introduced to lately, they just seem to be getting bigger and bigger. No, size doesn’t always matter, but the bigger it is, the more I want to look at it in awe. The beautiful pillar of foamy goodness rested atop a clear, dark amber-orange with raspberry highlights, and as it slowly (very slowly – I believe they call this “solid retention”) disintegrated, it left behind lines of thick spotty lacing.
No sooner had I poured the brew, crushed pine needles – very christmasy – erupted from the glass. It was a very natural pine smell, not like an air freshener or cleaning agent, but still a very strong natural pine. Along with the pine, there were light hints of fruit, maybe strawberries and pears, floral hops, and lying just below everything…ruby red grapefruit.
Sipping on it, I was surprised to encounter a thicker mouthfeel than I expected, but this was due in large part to the medium body accompanied by a hearty, spicy carbonation. There was an immediate sourness that peaked on the roof of my mouth every time I swallowed. I also pulled out some very light caramel malts, both resiny hops and zesty, floral hops, pine, ruby red grapefruit (more like the juice than the actual fruit, if you know what I mean), and the ever-present prickly carbonation. There wasn’t really a noticeable aftertaste despite the sour/bitter overtones, and it did end more on the dry side.
So far, Sonoran has my attention, I only wish they had more bottled beer to choose from. I guess this will be another brewery trip to add to my quickly growing list. I really need to find more grocery stores around here that carry local microbrews…I didn’t expect it to be this difficult. The Sonoran Victorian IPA is a late summer beer, mostly because of the thicker mouthfeel and all the zesty herbal hops. This beer would be best paired with spicy warm/hot foods. I don’t quite understand it yet, but if a beer is spicy, it cancels out any overly spicy food. I suppose it’s a good lesson about fighting fire with fire, right?