What’s the world coming to? I was just reading about Hardywood The Great Return West Coast Style IPA on Beeradvocate.com, and somebody was complaining that the beer is too malty and not tropical fruity enough for them. They actually down-rated it for this, which boggles my mind: these people just don’t get beer.
Here’s a hint, though. I enjoyed Hardywood The Great Return for the very reason this person didn’t: it has malt! It has piney resin! It has citric grapefruit! It’s like drinking a beer, really, and so much better (in my opinion) than those modern namby pamby fruit loop IPAs. You’re also doing good when you buy it, since the brewery donates $10 from the sale of each barrel to the James River Association.
From the can label:
Bold, resinous and bursting with bright grapefruit aroma, this IPA is a tribute to the decades of hard work by conservationists to restore the James River as a bounty of vibrant aquatic life, eco-friendly recreational activity, and in our case, fresh brewing water. These efforts have culminated recently with the symbolic return of the endangered Atlantic sturgeon, a prehistoric, yet majestic behemoth of a fish, spotted as far up the James River as the fall line in Richmond. Your purchase of this beer supports the James River Association. Thank you for being a part of The Great Return.
Hardywood The Great Return West Coast Style IPA is a West Coast IPA the way I think of West Coast IPAs being West Coast IPAs. Some people call the modern fruit loopy thin malty IPAs as West Coast IPAs, but I don’t. Anyway, the beer has an alcohol content of 7.5% by volume with 70 IBUs. Total Wine sells this beer for $12.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans, but I got mine in a trade with the very generous Jefferson Evans.
Hardywood The Great Return West Coast Style IPA pours to a hazy orange color with a thick creamy head and a bright citrus and bitter peel nose. Taking a sip, the beer has medium to good caramel malt up front which is what I want in an old-school West Coast IPA. The hops appear citric with very bitter grapefruit peel aromas and flavors and less of the resiny pine promised (but still a hint of it). The finish is long, dry and very bitter indeed with an intense grapefruit peel bitterness.
I really like this beer, so full of citric hop character and bitterness all balanced off against MALT. That, my friends, is so missing in so many IPAs today.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.