For this 2017 edition of #IPADay I thought I’d write a bit about McMenamins Sunflower IPA—the canned version that the company gifted me recently. I am drinking the last of the four cans as I write this, and I’ve enjoyed the beer as I’ve worked my way through it.
It’s a solid India Pale Ale, this version brewed and canned at the Edgefield Brewery in Troutdale, and while it doesn’t delve into the fruit flavors or cloudy appearance of recent trendy IPAs, it is an excellent rendition of the citrus, floral, and resiny, Northwest-flavored version of the style. Golden and clear, it offers up a finely-bubbled head that persists with lacy, sticky legs.
On the nose there’s citrus and black tea, spicy hop resin and herbal bitter greens overlaying a crisp and toasty malt snap. The peppery, spicy hop notes come through in the flavor as well, and the bitterness persists at the back of the mouth without feeling sticky or coating the tongue. It’s not too bitter, and focuses on the late-addition flavoring of earthy hops which brings a hint of tropical fruit but (for me) stays nicely down to earth.
Now, I’ve had at least one bottled version of Sunflower IPA in the past which didn’t impress me at all. To be fair I can’t speak to the age of the bottle, or if the recipe was the problem, but it was malty and heavy and had a lackluster hop presence. So I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of this version when I opened the first can.
(I’m not suggesting the beer is better canned than bottled, though it may well be; the most likely reason is a re-tooled recipe and freshly canned beer, which makes a huge difference.)
This one is worth checking out. It won’t knock your socks off as the next hazy New England-style IPA (check the one-offs in the pubs for those), but you’ll find a solid and nicely drinkable American IPA inside.
Happy IPA Day!