Here’s an interesting little beer that I picked up on vacation in Asheville, North Carolina last month. The beer is Pisgah Greybeard IPA and the brewery calls it a “West Coast Style” IPA, though it’s not like the ones that are called that today in my opinion. The good news is that it’s really better than those beers, again at least in my opinion.
Here’s How Pisgah describes Greybeard IPA on the label:
Named for Black Mountain’s highest summit, Greybeard is an innovative IPA extracting it’s bitterness from massive doses of whole leaf hops utilizing a unique hop-back system to infuse extra lupulin resins into the body and aroma. Bold and adventurous, Greybeard takes you to the top of the mountain.
I will give them the innovative part, because this is rather unusual IPA. Let’s see what I think of it, shall we?
Pisgah Greybeard IPA pours to a bright orange amber color with a thick head of creamy foam and a gently citric lemon rind nose. Taking a sip, Greybeard offers a bit of chewy caramel up front with a bit more of the lemony rind character the nose promised followed by herbal grassy aroma and a massive bitterness in the finish. That’s the interesting thing here, this beer is really a lot more about hop bitterness than traditional aroma. It’s very earthy, very herbal in the hop aroma and flavor, but still the bitterness in the finish is really what grabs your palate. I found it with a little butter in the nose and in the palate, too.
So you see, the unusual thing (at least for today’s notion of “West Coast IPA” is that this is an earthy, herbal, very bitter IPA with malt rather than a thin bodied IPA with namby-pamby fruit loop hops. Indeed, the know-nothing beer geeks on some of the beer sites can be seen complaining that this beer is “too malty”. That really boils my blood, because an IPA should have malt to it. This one does, and an unusual hop character that I enjoy.
Greybeard IPA has an alcohol content of 6.9% by volume and is brewed with California ale yeast and Nugget and Chinook hops. I paid $10.99 for a six-pack, and although I was a little hard on Pisgah for that a few years ago, I’ve seen more and more beers in that range lately. So yes, I would certainly buy this beer again.
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.