Quick Take: This IPA seems to be out of balance. If you like your IPAs with a malty caramel wallop followed by a rippy and earthy thud of hops, seek this one out. I’m sure there will be plenty of people that enjoy what this beer has to offer, but I’m not really one of them.
Brew Facts: Parkway Brewery just celebrated their one year anniversary in January of 2014 and is one of many breweries located in the Blue Ridge Mountain range in VA. They plan on releasing an imperial version of Get Bent sometime soon.
Appearance: This shines deep amber, almost red with the slightest haze. It’s a nice looking beer that catches the light well. Not cloudy but not quite clean either. Carbonation is subdued as there was little to no head during and after the pour.
Aroma: The nose hits you with an intense, almost smoky pine aroma with a heavy dose of toffee malt sweet. That earthy, evergreen hop funk lingers under the heavy sweetness. Further investigation suggests an astringent resin, but is barely a player in the overall aroma.
Taste/Mouth Feel: Mild syrupy, heavy mouth feel, but smooth drinking. It’s quite surprising for a non-imperial IPA and works well for the bold flavors that follow. The malty/bread sweet lead-in gives way to a bitter pine and resin denouement. That toffee caramel front transitions abruptly, slamming head first into a hops barrier that’s as bitter as a prison wall. It creates a slightly off-putting rippy hop on the ass end. At only 67 IBUs, the bitterness is not overwhelming, but doesn’t seem to be utilized well. Not really my style of IPA. The indulgent malt and hops just don’t blend into a cohesive beer and butt heads.
Final Thoughts: This IPA seems to be out of balance. A looming wave of malt crashes against a piney, bitter reef and sinks my taste buds. The bready sweetness just doesn’t integrate with the hops in a satisfying way for me. If you like your IPAs with a malty caramel wallop followed by a rippy and earthy thud of hops, seek this one out. I’m sure there will be plenty of people that enjoy what this beer has to offer, but I’m not really one of them. Perhaps the imperial version, releasing some time in 2014 I believe, will work a bit better.
Second Thoughts (Chris): Could back the hops off a bit, but would make it a bready beer. Like to see the ABV raised and hope the booze would bring the divergent elements together.