Friday, August 5, 2011

Up The Creek Extreme IPA

Today I'm drinking Up The Creek Extreme IPA brewed by Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, South Carolina. So I can say I participated in #IPADay on Twitter, I saved this one for today. Also noteworthy and completely circumstantial, Up The Creek is exactly where the Stock Market was today--lost 513 points. Bitchin'!  Anyway, I'm guessing the Extreme part of the name is referring to the 12.5% alcohol in this puppy.

The color is a dark maroon, much darker than I'd expect from this style of beer. Taking a whiff, you will have a face-full of caramel and raisins and fig newtons, all topped with big booze. Not exactly an IPA or DIPA smell either. OK, dudes, I'm cool. I don't really give two shits about the style catalog. I want a tasty beer! Just making some observations.

Sweet caramel and toffee flavors to start. The 12.5% alcohol hit is immediate and very, well, alcoholic. Boozy. It's sweet, quite sweet. Some spicy black pepper and a touch of orange citrus do add some relief, but hoppy this beer is not. Now that I said it's sweet, I will say that the body is not overly thick and chewy and unpleasant; yes, it's viscous and sticky and coats the entire mouth, but pleasantly.

I let the second half of the glass warm up a little while I was typing you this love letter, and I will say that was a positive move. Some of the alcohol blended a little better. So you should start there, a little above refrigerator temperature, if you decide this beer is for you. However, in the end, sweet and booze trump the nice flavors this beer had to offer. It's not a bad beer, though. I think they should consider calling it a barleywine, based solely on comparisons from my tasting experience. Again, I'm not sure what the technical differentiators are, just an observation.

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