So after a rough start to the reviewing, I decided I needed to drink something I knew I would enjoy. After a good beer haul I received from California earlier in the week, I knew exactly what I wanted to try. Blind Pig is the little brother of Pliny the Elder, the world class double IPA from Russian River. I've tried the latter on a couple occasions, but never the former. Does Blind Pig live up to the hype built up from Russian River's other beers? I hoped so.
Cracking the bottle, I could smell the citrus pungency of the hops before I even pour it into my glass. Into the glass, the smell gets even more complex with scents of tropical fruits and pine. It definitely smells like a hop bomb. The color is a pale orange, crystal clear, with a little under an inch of bright white head.
The taste surprises me, but this time in a good way. The complex hop scent is here in the taste, but balanced perfectly with a solid pale malt profile. It's got all the hoppiness you could want without being bitter at all; I'm impressed. Hops up front and the malts finish the show with a pleasant slight sweetness. Carbonation isn't as intense as I'm used to, but between that and the medium body, this makes for one of the smoothest IPAs I've ever had the pleasure of drinking.
So does Blind Pig live up to the rest of the Russian River family of beers, the ratings on both beer sites, and its annual inclusion on the Ratebeer Top 100 list? That answer is a unequivocal 'Yes'. This is easily one of the best IPAs I have ever drank before. It manages to achieve the difficult task of being complex enough for the serious craft beer drinker, while at the same time not being too intense for those just getting into this wonderful world.
A beer doesn't always have to be expensive, >10% ABV, super hoppy, or barrel aged to be good. Some of the best beer is the stuff you wouldn't mind drinking every day. If Blind Pig was distributed here, I would probably always have a few bottles of it in my fridge. In fact, as an everyday beer (in my opinion), it easily surpasses Pliny the Elder. It's just that solid.
So, for the first time, A Beer a Day has success. I give Blind Pig IPA by Russian River Brewing Company an A. If you are ever in California or anywhere else this is distributed, you owe it to yourself to grab a few bottles.
Style: American IPA
Beer Advocate: A
Acquired via a trade from a very generous Beer Advocate from California.