Review: Smuttynose Finest Kind IPA

Smuttynose Brewing company has been making quality beer in Portsmouth, NH since 1994, specializing in traditional English ales. With the explosion in popularity of craft beers Smuttynose has branched out with their big beer series as well as inventive seasonal brews. Smuttynose beers are now distributed up and down the East coast and into the mid-west.

Finest Kind IPA is Smuttynose’s take on an American IPA, hop-forward at 75 IBU’s with a diverse mixture of American hop varieties (Magnum, Simcoe, Centennial, Santiam, Amarillo). The malt bill is mostly pale malts, allowing for a hop-centric flavor profile.

Smuttynose IPAFinest Kind IPA pours a slightly cloudy yellow with a sustained white head, the cloudiness is due to the fact that the beer is unfiltered. The aroma was strangely neutral, you would expect a strong hop aroma in this type of IPA, but it was absent in this bottle. The taste was better, a solid hop bitterness, some grass and pine notes. I also got a bit of fruity/ester flavors, something that you would expect with some Belgian beers but strange in an English style IPA. I have had this beer before and enjoyed it more, I think the 6-pack I bought was a bit off. It is important to drink IPA’s fresh, the hop aromas that are key to that intense hoppy experience dissipate over time, but the “drink by” date was January 2014, so this batch should have been fine. Disappointing quality control for a normally stellar brewer. Hoppy Boston score (based on this batch): 2.0/5.

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