Every year during the weekend around April 20th, the Sweetwater Brewing Company of Atlanta, Georgia holds a massive party known as 420 Fest. 420 Fest has grown from a party in the brewery parking lot (as it was the last time I attended many years ago) to a 3-Day event this year held in Centennial Park with bands, beer and food galore.
For 2015, 420 Fest was held April 17th through the 19th, with a $75 cover charge for all three days. For those of you like me, however, who are less enthusiastic about huge crowds and bands we don’t know (go ahead, call me a stick in the mud) Sweetwater has an alternative: Sweetwater 420 Fest Double IPA.
Sweetwater 420 Fest Double IPA is a lot like the actual 420 Fest itself, if the 420 fest were tossed into a brew kettle with a good amount of malt and hops, boiled for a few hours, set out in tanks to ferment, aged a bit and then bottled. Sweetwater has been on a bit of a double IPA kick lately, and 420 Fest Double IPA is a lot like their recent beers Johnny Hash Double IPA and Hop Hash Infused Double IPA. These aren’t namby-pamby fruit loop DIPAs that seem to be all the rage these days, they’re malty, hoppy beers with good old-fashioned citrus and resin notes.
Sweetwater says this about 420 Fest Double IPA on the painted label bottle:
It all started 11 years ago with a couple of hippie bands, 420 people, 80 dogs, and 50 kegs kicking off the first 420 Fest. Our fest was created as our way to give back and recognize the great community that has made Sweetwater what it is today. This year we are ripping the lid off this sucker! We’ve booked some of our favorite bands (trust us, it’s solid), stocked the trucks with 1500+ kegs and are ready to rage with 90,000 of our closest friends. Come help us celebrate 4/20 the only way we know. Facedown!
Sweetwater 420 Fest Double IPA has an alcohol content of 8% by volume and I got a few bottles at the very reasonable price of just $5.99. I picked up extra to send to friends as it was just that good, and it was fresh, having only been released at the end of March. Sweetwater doesn’t list ingredients but Beer Street Journal reports it’s made with Lemon Drop and Experimental 052236 hops and Marris Otter Pale Ale Malt.
Sweetwater 420 Fest Double IPA ours to a brilliant orange color with a thick creamy head of unruly foam and a big inviting resiny hop nose. Taking a sip, the beer has a firm chewy caramel matiness up front followed by some very interesting hop notes. I get huge piney resin almost like walking through a pine forest and sucking up the green needles into your mouth. But I get definite notes of lemongrass too, and at the last a long herbal earthy dry bitterness.
All in all, I think this is not quite as tasty as the Hop Hash beers (your mileage may vary).It does have very green herbal hoppy resiny notes like those beers, though. However you peg it, this is a damned good beer and at $5.99 a bottle a real bargain, too. Keep on rolling Sweetwater!
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.