Beer Review 0565: Foothills IPA Of The Month – January 2014 ‘Ginger’

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Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) are taking on a new project for 2014 — they’re crafting a new, unique IPA for each month of the year.

Foothills Brewing is my local brewpub, located about fifteen minutes from my home. You may know them for their Russian Imperial Stout, named Sexual Chocolate, which is a highly-sought after brew that is released in limited form each February. I reviewed it in 2012 and gave it 94 points.

Foothills started brewing in 2004; now, nearly ten years later, brewmaster Jamie Bartholomaus is seeing his creations go into bottles more and more. The brewery has opened up a production facility across town, and many of their regular lineup options are now mainstays in six-pack form in grocery stores all across the state. With the opening of the production facility, it has freed the brewpub up for some experimental beers — not 100% sure, but the 2014 IPA project seems like it would be well-versed for a small batch production.

The first offering in the series, which was nicknamed ‘Ginger’ by drinkers on Facebook, is a 6.8% ABV (alcohol by volume) IPA that uses Horizon hops in the boil, and is then dry-hopped with Simcoe and Chinook. The IBUs (International Bitterness Units) are at 67.

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The pour drew up an average size, frothy head that turned soap-sudsy before it diminished, and it took its sweet time doing so. Color of the beer was a nice golden-orange, and the body was very hazy. While you can’t exactly see through it, there were no particles or sediment floating about. Lacing was excellent, coating the glass with thick patches of foam. This is a pleasant looking beer, especially for the middle of winter when the eyes are used to seeing darker fare.

On the nose, things are a little muted but still interesting — there’s lots of lemon peel on this brew, with more gentle and tamed notes of grapefruit and tropical fruits. But the most notable thing going on in the aroma is a Saison-like quality at play; the yeast is slightly musty and it just smells dry. Perhaps my nose is playing tricks on me, but Ginger has an aroma like a hoppy Saison, with a bit of straw and grain mixed in. Not your typical IPA scent, for sure.

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The taste opens with a blast of orange and lemon, along with dry grapefruit. The beer is dry throughout; swirl it in the mouth and you’ll get a juicy hit of tropical fruits and a slight peach flavor. Middle of the taste is somewhat grainy, preparing for a finish that offers dry lemon peel, orange, and grapefruit. This beer has a very nice mouthfeel; while it is foamy, it’s more on the creamy end without being, well, expressly creamy. The carbonation seems soft, which helps matters out…Ginger is medium-bodied.

My expectations for this beer weren’t very high, but color me pleasantly surprised. This is a tasty brew that showcases some very nice subtle nuances, especially the tropical fruit and peach flavors. Couple in the Saison-like dryness, this brew leaves you mouth feeling like you’ve licked an envelope flavored with Jolly Ranchers. You’re always prepared for the next sip…until the bottle runs dry. And it will, quickly. Nice job, Foothills — can’t wait to see what February has in store.

Foothills IPA Of The Month – January 2014 ‘Ginger’, 89 points. Price: $5.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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