Disclosure: I visited McMenamins Old St. Francis School here in Bend a few weeks ago because I had a “free growlette fill” postcard (“growlette” being a 32-ounce half-sized growler) for their Copper Moon seasonal. While there I stopped in at the brewery to say hi to brewer Mike “Curly” White and in addition to the free fill of Copper Moon, he gave me a bottle of the newly-retooled Sunflower IPA.
The story behind the new-ish Sunflower is here; it’s brewed at bottled at the Edgefield brewery. I’m not 100% sure if they are only brewing it up as a summer seasonal but I think that is the case.
What is our secret Sunflower recipe, you ask? We brewed with Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops and dry-hopped with Falconer’s Flight 7 C’s pellets. We updated the hopping to better reflect current trends in late-addition hopping and dry-hopping techniques – both of which add hop flavor and aroma to the brew. The varieties we chose should impart citrus and tropical fruit character with a mellow but present hop bitterness backed up with a simple malt bill designed to provide a balanced sweetness, maximize body, mouthfeel and head retention while staying out of the way of the hops and resulting in an ABV of 6.3%.
What better day to crack open this bottle for a review than IPA Day?
Appearance: It’s amazingly clear and bright, a shiny copper color. There’s ample finely-whipped foam piled up that’s leaving good lacing.
Smell: Delivers on the citrusy hops, a nice fruity green punch of aromatics. Some orange zest, guava pineapple juice, and hints of that spicy-onion Mosaic note.
Taste: Bitter greens, like dandelion, with a bit of scallion greens (the green leafy parts, not the white fleshy part), a nice spicy-earthy bitterness. The malt is simple and clean, like a really good English floor malt, and marries well with the hops. There’s a good balance though it’s definitely hop-forward, but there’s nothing over the top in any one direction.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, clean and very drinkable. Residual earthy flavors in aftertaste.
Overall: Quite a nice example of the style, somewhat melding English IPA with American sensibilities, and the hops work well here. It’s super drinkable as well, not being overly strong or palate-scrapingly bitter. Well done.
Happy IPA Day, everyone!