Saturday, June 10, 2017

Insight Brewing Defending the West IPA

Beer Name: Defending the West IPA
Brewery: Insight Brewing (Minneapolis, MN)
ABV: 7.6%
How sold: 16 oz tallboy cans; on draft
Where bought: Purchased online at France44 (Minnesota)
Price: $12.49 for 4-pack mix of 16 oz tallboys (2 West Coast and 2 East Coast)

Date Canned: March 1, 2017
Date Purchased: March 6, 2017
Date Received: March 9, 2017
Date Opened/Drank: March 10, 2017
When brewed? Possibly a limited-time series.

What's on the Can: "Chapter XVIII, East vs. West, San Francisco, California. The great Brewer's Guild Rivalry was coming to a head. The East Coast Clan, with their juicy, citrusy Grand IPA Philosophy marched forward, brandishing their Molotov Hoptails and frankly unintelligible accent. The West Coast Tribe, and their devout adherence to the hoppiest of hops, stood their ground, hoisting pine bough clubs in their be-friendship-braceleted, chainmail arms. Neither side seemed ready to surrender. And there I stood in the middle, quietly humming 'Why Can't We Be Friends?'"

Where distributed: As of March 2017, Insight Brewing only distributes to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Click here to see where Insight Brewing ships!

Appearance (5%): Poured clear copper to amber-colored into a pint glass. Very frothy off-white to light tan head. Significant lacing on the glass. Much darker than I expected, but still nice. 4.25/5

Smell (25%): Predominantly dank piney with complementing malt; some tropical grapefruit. 4.5/5

Taste (40%): Hop-forward and dank. Caramelized malts come at you. Tropical bitterness is center stage. Aftertaste is more citrus peel and grapefruit. While it has West Coast qualities and tastes great, most West Coast IPAs I've had don't have as much caramelized malt. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel (10%): Medium-bodied; some carbonation. Dryness on the tongue. 4.25/5

Overall (20%): An excellent IPA. Let's make this clear: I enjoyed this beer, drank it all, and wanted more. The flavors were on point with that citrus bitterness. But since Insight seemed to want a "Which one is the winner?" situation, I'll delve deeper. I thought this IPA from Insight was not as accurately portrayed as its New England counterpart; the West looked too dark (our West Coast IPAs are usually golden, and this looked more akin to a Red IPA but wasn't labeled as such). Defending the West also had a bit more caramelized malt to it than most West Coast IPAs I've had.

The flavor differences between East and West were striking. In the East, the citrus is center stage, with the hops in a supporting role. Conversely, the star of the West's beer is the hop-bitterness and malt, with the tropical playing second fiddle. While both were delicious, I side with the East this time mainly because I'm in love with that tropical flavor explosion. It's also at a lower ABV, so that alone should justify drinking more of it. Either way, I'd try both beers if you can get your hands on them. 4.25/5

Final Weighted Rating: 4.313/5

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