Thursday, August 11, 2011
Day 17 (8/10/11): Vortex IPA by Fort George Brewery
It seems that craft beer is kindling a growing love affair with cans. Their merits of canning instead of bottling has already been discussed ad nauseam, so I'm going to leave that alone and just deal with the beer inside this can. I have never even heard of Fort George Brewing, but I know I like West Coast IPAs, so I figured I would be pleased.
Vortext pours a murky amber with a billowing, off-white head. I had to let it die down a bit before I could pour most of the pint-sized can. It looks like there is a great deal of sediment in the beer itself, judging by the floaties that are suspended. They never really sank down the the bottom of the glass so I just went ahead and drank the beer, floaties and all.
The smell of this is fantastic. It is pretty much all hops, with a mix of citrus fruitiness and pine. It's not a balanced smell, but it is great regardless. This smells like a hop lover's dream.
The taste is surprisingly balanced. The big and bold hop flavors are tempered partially by some pale malt sweetness. It's definitely not completely balanced, as the hops leave a somewhat unpleasant bitter finish on the tongue, but much more so than I would have expected from the nose. The hops here steal the show with not just floral, pine, or fruity notes, but all of them together. They definitely mixed their hops well when putting this one together.
The mouthfeel is pretty typical for an IPA. The carbonation is medium, but smooth, and the body is medium if not medium-low.
I was on the fence between an A- and a B+ for Vortex, but leaned for the lower score. This is a really good smelling and tasting beer, but between the sediment (that you aren't warned about on the can) and the bitter finish, I just can't justify an A or A- when there are so many great IPAs out there. If they filtered this one and managed to reduce the bitterness while not compromising the great flavors, Vortex would be up there with some of the best IPAs I've ever drank. Despite that, I'd still drink this if I ever had the chance. I give Vortex IPA by Fort George Brewery a B+.
Style: American IPA
Beer Advocate: A-
Received in a box from a very, very generous Beer Advocate in Oregon. I have no idea what its distribution is, but it's not here.