Update: 10/12/2013: As it happens, the Beer of the Month at my local Taco Mac is Sweetwater for October. That means if you stop by on a Thursday night you can get a free logo pint glass with your purchase of one of three featured beers. This month, those beers are Sweetwater Crank Tank Helles Lager, Sweetwater Motor Boat, and the classic Sweetwater IPA.
I went with Sweetwater IPA to get my glass, though I had had the beer many times before in bottles and on draft. To be honest, this has not historically speaking been one of my preferred beers from Sweetwater, as it was on the mild side for an IPA. That changed several years ago when Kevin McNierny left as head brewer and Freddy Bensch took over; Sweetwater IPA is now a hoppier beer than it has been in the past.
There's a solid malt backbone here and the same citrusy, piney hop aroma I got when I first reviewed this beer 13 years ago. There's just more of it than there used to be, and more bitterness in the finish as well. This is still a mild-mannered IPA overall, but I love the balance the beer brings while still allowing the hops to shine through.
In the past, I suggested this beer as a match for mild wings, but the new and hoppier Sweetwater IPA proved a lovely match for a plate of Taco Mac's signature spicy Buffalo wings. A bargain, too, at just $4.75 for a pint (20 ounces in my case). Still not a mammoth IPA, but it's getting closer, anyway. Bumped up from 3 to 4 stars.
Update 2/18/2017: There I was at the Quik Trip when a can of Sweetwater IPA caught my fancy. 16-ounces of this lovely malty classic hoppy IPA for $1.99? Sold!
Grains – 2-Row, Munich, Wheat, 70/80
Hops – Chinook, Cascade, Columbus finished with Simcoe, US Golding
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.