Local brewing is something that's really important to me, and it's part of why I originally started this blog. The delight I experience from discovering new breweries whose facilities, employees and owners are from somewhere both physically and sentimentally close to me is part of what makes craft beer such an interesting subculture. I mention this because there are now two breweries that I know of that operate in the city of Lowell. As my hometown, current city of dwelling and home of my father's side of the family for several generations, Lowell is obviously a deep-rooted place in my life, and discovering breweries from my "neck of the woods" is exciting and invigorating. Enlightenment Ales, operating out of a South Lowell facility on Meadowcroft Street is one of the two craft breweries I know of in close vicinity to me. The beer on order tonight, however, is by a very new outfit: Do Can Brewery operating out of a facility on Stedman Street right around my stomping grounds growing up in the Highlands. Therefore, I am quite excited to try their new IPA!
Pineapple Express is its name, and it is described as an India pale ale, "light golden in color with a soft body." The first soft pour produces a surprisingly medium-amber beer with a slight touch of golden hue shining through the hazy body. Excellent, retentive, cushioning foam leaves slight drippings of lacing as it fades away, and the surface of the beer is appropriately covered by the milky-white suds.
I'm near my last 10 ounces of this beer now, and I'm really glad I picked it up. I didn't manage to get my hands on their initial bottle release from Drum Hill Liquors, which was a regular IPA with what I can only assume is a pretty decent hop schedule if this follow-up is any indication. I'm enjoying this one a lot. It's not really out of the ordinary, but it's also one of the most drinkable "borderline double-IPAs" I've had in a while, and the body makes it feel a bit weaker than it is (wouldn't have guessed higher than 6.5%, to be honest; it hides alcohol really well). Eighty-five IBUs (bitterness units; 100 is generally considered the point where the human tongue can't distinguish much anymore) is a tough customer for some but I'm more than willing to tackle such a beer so this is welcome to me. Looking at some of their other stuff coming out or available on site leads me to believe the guy behind the brewing operation likes to hype his own beers a bit too much (lots of talk about "triple extreme IPAs with 300+ IBUs" and "13% imperial stouts" and all that), but I think that whether or not they live up to the buzzwords being used remains to be seen. Not that I don't have faith; I love to be proven wrong, and, given the quality of this brew, I don't doubt Do Can can pull it off! Perseverance beats strength!
The official breakdown:
Style: American IPA
Appearance: Darker and hazier than expected with a medium-amber body that is crowned by a surprisingly unwavering 1-2 finger head with a murky surface. Minimal lace
Scent: Powerful bouquet of tropical fruit and pine resin with the mango, pineapple, grapefruit and papaya characteristics of Citra hops. Medium breadiness backs it up
Taste: Lots of tropical fruit notes; maybe a bit of apple as well to round it out. Papaya, grapefruit, pineapple, mango; slight biscuit malt; kiwi, passionfruit
Mouthfeel: Airy and open with a smooth and nicely-adaptive carbonation that pushes flavors without being overbearing. No alcohol burn; good use of malt backing
Drinkability: For a beer right on the cusp of being an imperial IPA with one of the most potent, fruity and nuanced hops (Citra), this is downright enjoyable. Nice!