Barrel Theory Beer Company
Fan The Flames IPA
My attraction for the Barrel Theory grew when the positive buzz on beer blogs encouraged me to occasionally drive to Downtown Saint Paul in an area of scarce parking and load up of their crowlers. The beer was good but the drive and parking were a pain in the ass. That changed when one of my favorite liquor stores (France 44 Wines & Spirits) began stocking Barrel Theory. I head there when I need both beer and cheese and usually pick up some Barrel Theory Crowlers. I like Barrel Theory because it is packed with flavors using a variety of interesting hops - which they know how to handle - and it lacks the acidity too often found in big IPAs that eats a hole in my stomach. Barrel Theory Beer Company Fan The Flames IPA fits the Barrel Theory pattern perfectly. It is loaded with Citra, Mosaic, and Vic Secret Hops and clocks in at 7% alcohol by volume. The aroma offers the citrusy, stone fruit, tropical fruit and melon aromas of Citra, the complementary aromas of Mosaic along with hints of berry and pine, and supportive tropical fruit, pine and herb notes from Vic Secret. Background clean malt aromas and very mild alcohol support the rich hop aromas. The aromas all work together with nothing harsh or acidic. The beer drops hazy straw gold under a robust 2.5" off white cap with good retention. the beer is not murky or cloudy and there is no floating particulate matter. The flavors follow the aromas seasoned by a rich, medium high citrusy bitter that dries on finish with a slight astringent note. Hop flavors are high and bitterness is medium plus. Malt is clean and neutral offering a light breadiness. The beer finishes off dry with a long, lingering bitter. There are no creamy, starchy or sugary sweet flavors. Above average carbonation and a soft medium plus body offer very mild, smooth alcohol warmth with no acidic twang. This is a delightful beer - full flavored, well balanced, fruity, satisfying and satiating and it lacks the stomach upsetting acidity that shows up in some big IPAs. It is a great beer to drink while relaxing on your patio and watching your garden grow. I rate it 88.
Go to New England IPA for a brief discussion of the style, links to reviews of similar beers, food pairings and glassware recommendations.