Beer Review 0209: Tröegs Perpetual IPA

It has been a few weeks since we’ve reviewed an India Pale Ale, and we’re going to remedy that today with Perpetual IPA, a beer made by the Tröegs Brewing Company out of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The brewery was founded and is ran by the Trogner brothers, Chris and John, who are 18 months in age apart. The two were inspired by craft beer around the same time, but there was a problem: Chris was located in Boulder, Colorado, while John was in Pennsylvania.

John was in the real estate business when the passion for beer hit. Chris sought skiing and college opportunities in Colorado, right in the middle of that region’s brewery boom of the mid ’90’s. After many phone calls, John packed bags and moved to Boulder, and got a job cleaning tanks at a brewery. He also attended brewing classes at University of California at Davis.

Chris later learned the art of brewing by going to England, taking classes at the University of Sunderland. But when Tröegs was founded, in 1996, it meant going back home for both brothers. Tröegs is a family nickname, in case you were wondering. The brewery has a limited distribution to just nine states in the US, with no current plans to expand.

Perpetual IPA, a year-round offering, is a 7.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) beer that Tröegs considers on the Imperial level. It uses Bravo, Chinook, and Mt. Hood hops in the boil, and then the brew travels through a device called a hop-back, where it passes through fresh Mt. Hood and Nugget hops. Finally, the beer is dry-hopped with Citra, Cascade, and Nugget. Perpetual was brewed in honor of Tröegs building a new brewery in 2010, and it comes in at 85 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

This beer pours with an average size head, soapy, frothy, and lasting. The beer was a golden-yellow color, vibrant in the glass, especially with the stark white head. The liquid was clear in body, featuring no particles or sediment, and there were very few bits of lacing left behind as I drank.

The nose featured a big hop presence, as expected. There were large notes of grapefruit and pine up front, with some resin, supported by a minor note of grass, lemon, and fleshy tropical fruit. There’s a touch of caramel malty sweetness, leaving the overall scent astringent and classic IPA.

Perpetual IPA’s initial flavors are soft and not very well defined, but swirl the beverage on your tongue a bit and bright flavors of grapefruit, lemon, and pine knock on the door. The middle is where the magic happens; the beer turns a touch sweet with some caramel, which couples well with the traditional hop flavors. Then the finish ushers in a heavy bitterness that dries out the mouth; it also nearly kills all the good flavors on the next sip, so I advise waiting a minute or two between sips, or else your palate might just be dominated by bitterness.

Tröegs have made a beer that starts gentle, ramps up to very pleasant, and then falls apart a bit on the finish. I like bitterness in IPAs, but not to the point where my next sip is just complete bitterness. Maybe a little more malt? Perhaps I just have a sweet tooth when it comes to these Imperial IPAs…

Tröegs Perpetual IPA, 86 points. Price: $1.95 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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