Mazanita Brewing Company's Chaotic Double India Pale Ale (IPA). If you've read this blog for any length of time, you probably know that IPAs are probably my least favorite style of beer. The emphasis on hops bitterness over pretty much all other flavor components tends to drive me away from them.
A representative of North Coast Brewing Company explained to me that IPAs weren't meant to be enjoyed while they were so hop-heavy. They were intended to be over-hopped prior to shipment from England to India. The months they spent on sailing ships and traveling on horse-drawn wagons to their destinations would mellow out the hops presence, fading it into a position of balance with the rest of the beer's flavor. To taste what an IPA was meant to be, you should cellar it for a few months to allow the hops bitterness to subside.
This beer pours a clear amber into the glass with a slightly orange tan head. The head is about finger-thick and remains for a very long time, leaving behind a thick layer of lacing.
The aroma is that of fresh grapefruit with a hint of hops. The flavor, as is typical for IPAs, is a strong dose of grapefruit hops from beginning to end. If there is any malt, any sweetness, any "anything" to the flavor of this beer other than hops, my palate is either too delicate or too unsophisticated to detect it. For me, all I get is hops bitterness, grapefruit bitterness, and a pine-like bitterness. It's possible that I've had a more bitter IPA, but I don't remember it. There probably aren't many beers above 93 IBUs which is where this one clocks in.
By way of a contrasting opinion, I should point out that Beer Advocate rates this an 84 or "good". Reviewers there criticized it as too sweet, too malty, or too heavy. They claimed the flavor didn't "let the hops shine". Perhaps they had a draft version of the beer where the hops didn't play as big a part?
As a representative of the American IPA style, or the Double IPA style, this is probably an excellent example. You won't want for hops flavor or aroma here. Manzanita Chaotic Double India Pale Ale has that in spades. If you like IPAs and are excited by hoppy beers, give it a try. If, like me, you prefer a beer that as a wider, more-balanced flavor profile, move along – there's nothing to see (or taste) here.
My Rating: 2/10