Review Date 6/2/2006
A few months ago
I was shopping at the Kroger store and spied a new line of beers on the
store shelves. I picked some up, of course, and have been reasonably
impressed with them. My favorite so far has been their hoppiest brew,
Steam Pumper IPA. Popping a bottle tonight, I thought I would share my
thoughts on the brew.
Fire Station 5 isn’t really a brewery, of course. It’s a brand of beer brewed by Portland brewing of Portland, Oregon, which is in turn owned by Pyramid Brewing Company. So my expectations weren’t all that high, but as it turned out I was pleasantly surprised with this wonderfully hoppy beer.
And I do enjoy a good hoppy IPA, especially with spicy foods, hot Buffalo wings id I can get them. And you can count on Fire Station 5 Steam Pumper IPA to douse the flames of those spicy wings quite nicely. The lingering dry bitterness of the beer is just heaven sent to pair with such fare.
At a measly six bucks a six-pack (at Kroger anyway, on sale) Steam Pumper IPA is a pretty good deal, too. If you’re not a fan of bitterness in beer, this one probably won’t be for you. But wait! Don’t believe what the megabrewers tell you. Bitterness has a place in beer, and it’s a good thing. Hop bitterness is just one of the many complexities a fine brew can offer you. And Steam Pumper IPA has bitterness covered.
Fire Station 5 Steam Pumper IPA pours to a bright orange amber color with a medium frothy head and a big resiny hop nose. The palate has a little chewy caramel to it but it's a bit thinner than I expected, with just a little toasty malt flavor and a splash of juicy, citric grapefruit. The hops really dominate here, they're big and citric and resiny and overpower the malt right off the bat.
In the finish, I get more over the top hoppiness. There's a long lingering bitterness that just grabs your tongue and won't let go, doing a piney resiny dance all over your taste buds. I do really like the long dry bitter hop finish here, though I think just a little more malt would be in order.
Perhaps too bitter for some, but a definite winner for a hophead like me. A little more malt and it might get five stars, but worthy of four for sure. And you be sure to check it out, won't you? Now if only I could get this stuff to pour forth from my local fire hydrant…….
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.