All You Need to Know
Brewery: Sole Artisan Ales
Style: “Extra” IPA (Imp.)
My Cost: $6 (16oz)
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip
Availability: One Off
Purchased@: The Fridge
Quick Take: Turbo Nerd could actually use a stronger kick of bitterness, but I’ll always favor layered fruit over early addition IBUs. The finish and carbing are a little limp as well, but minor issues for what is a very flavorful, tropical fruit-forward IPA well worth your time and money. Drink local!
Brew Facts: Sole Artisan is a brewer without a home, instead using the equipment of an established brewery to produce their beers (similar to what Grimm Artisnal does). Described as a “gypsy” brewer, Joe Percoco became a head brewer at age 20 and has worked for Weyerbacher, Allentown Brew Works, Funk Brewing, Shipyard and Cantillon (on a voluntary basis).
Appearance: Turbo Nerd pours yellow/gold, just as you’d expect. This Extra IPA (as it is described on the can) throws in the chill haze for free. It isn’t the New England hop cream that some brewers pump out, but appropriately murky. You can see your fingers lurking as vague shadows on the other side of the glass, but reading that dog-eared copy of Wuthering Heights will just have to wait for between sips.
A bleached, teeth whitening head two fingers high crops up and thins down to a swirling film. The glass remains speckled with the odd bubble cluster and thin strands of witch fingery lace. Swirling slides the suds around on clear, soapy oil sheets.
Aroma: A sniff and you’ll think Jack Lalanne just walked through the room after a Power Juicer infomercial (timely reference!). The aroma is sweet pineapple, mango, and papaya along with that peach quality that seems to cling to all IPAs. Impressive aroma that eventually dulls into a stone/tropical fruit malaise lacking the initial distinctive hit, but lovely just the same. At warmer temps, a touch of the toasted sesame (at least to me) of Citra ghosts through the background as does boozed-up pear.
Taste/Mouth Feel: The mouth feel does this beer right. A heavy slickness carries some sugar along for the ride and swishes through the mouth. The carbonation is on the light side given the sweet body of the beer and could use a boost. The dominate flavor is a bright, citrus pineapple mixed with the syrup left at the bottom of a Dole fruit cup. Even with the hammer strong fist of fruit, hints of danker elements linger in the background. The bitterness is mild, tied into the bread body. The malt borders on the candied side and leaves a little too much residue sugar in the mid for me. There is also a touch of grass/dill as it warms, which will be a positive/negative depending on your tastes. I will say that ultimately, Turbo Nerd makes you wonder if this brew is a combo of an ester rich English yeast and straight up extracts.
Final Thoughts: This is a little counterintuitive for an Imperial, sorry “Extra” IPA, but I enjoyed Turbo Nerd most at colder temps. It keeps the fruit sweetness in check before letting it roam loose through the warming beer. It could actually use a stronger kick of bitterness, but I’ll always favor layered fruit over early addition IBUs. The finish and carbing are a little limp as well, however that is probably by design. Regardless, I could see Hopslam and Chillwave fans finding plenty to like, however this warms a drier beer without the sticky honey sweetness.
Even with my nit-picking, Sole Artisan Ales has and is showing plenty of promise with solid beers like Artistry & Alchemy, an imperial maple stout, as well as imperial IPAs Good, Good and Juicebox. I don’t think we’ve had the masterwork from this brewer yet, although Turbo Nerd is another step closer. Overall, my issues are minor for what is a very flavorful, tropical fruit forward IPA well worth your time and money. Drink local!
Trade-Worthiness: For PA locals and fruit juicy IPA drinkers, worth seeking out.