With the ever increasing number of craft breweries competeing for attention from customers, as well as shelf and tap space, it is important for any new brewery to have a calling card. One of the most effective calling cards is a beer that creates buzz. Typically this beer will be a seasonal/limited release, and it should either be a unique flavor profile or a very well done version of a popular style. Having this “calling card” beer gets people excited about the brewery and encourages consumers to sample other brewery releases. Rising Tide Brewing of Portland, ME has their “calling card” beer in Calcutta Cutter. Named after a single masted sailing vessel, Calcutta Cutter is a double IPA. Rising Tide refers to the beer as their homage to hops, with additions early, late, very late and dry. I had heard some positive reviews and buzz around Calcutta Cutter, and needed to sample it for myself.
Rising Tide Calcutta Cutter pours an amber gold with a mild white head. As you sip it a full lacing tracks down the sides of the glass. The smell is pungent hops, citrus and tropical fruit mixed with some floral notes. The first taste gives you a huge burst of hop flavor, grapefruit, orange, guava, mango and some pine. While the beer is very malt forward there is a solid malt backbone, with touches of grain and caramel. The beer is nicely balanced. The solid hop bitterness you expect from an IPA is slightly mellowed and complemented by the full malt flavor. At 8.7% ABV Rising Tide Calcutta Cutter is definitely not a session beer, but it drinks pretty easy for a full bodied double IPA. The finish leaves a pleasant tartness on the tongue and keeps you coming back for more. I had high expectations for Calcutta Cutter and it completely lived up to them. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Rising Tide reviews: