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Flashing the Hops

I have grown a bit hop-tired in recent months. I find myself gravitating more and more to maltier beer or to beer that offer a nice balance between hops and other qualities. Don’t get me wrong – I am not turning my back on the little green flower. I just think my palate could use a hop-break of sorts.

That said, I still want to make sure that any new and interesting beer that hits the market finds a way down my throat once or twice. Which is why I picked up some Green Flash when it hit shelves a few months ago. My Vue Weekly column this week (on newstands today) reviews that classic West Coast hop-bomb. You can read it here.

It is one of those reviews where I try more to summarize what I taste and leave the final opinion to the reader. I think I did this because it is one of those beer that will invariably divide beer drinkers. Some will love its unabashed, hop-forward character. Others will be hoping for more balance and be a bit disappointed. Neither will be wrong, quite frankly. That is the kind of beer it is and whether you like it or not depends on what you hope to get from it.

I think I can fairly state that it lives up to what it promises to be – a classic West Coast IPA. Which means I wasn’t sad to have tried it, and I may very well pick up another pack sometime in the future – when my tastebuds tell me they are hankering for some hops again. For now, that will just leave more bottles for you active hop-heads.


10 comments to Flashing the Hops

  • Is there a beer analogy to music’s “If it’s too loud you’re too old”? If it’s too hoppy… Just kidding. I drank Green Flash all down the California coast this summer and was pleased to see it Alberta when I returned. I called the West Coast IPA “San Diego in a bottle” in my Tomato piece:

  • Paul

    I love this beer, in my opinion one of the best (if not the best) IPA we get in Alberta.

    But it really demonstrates the importance of freshness for an IPA. Last I checked the bottles on the shelves were brewed back in May, making them ~6 months old by now, and I think it shows. Now I’m in a bit of a catch-22, where I don’t want to buy it because it’s old, but if people don’t buy it new stock won’t be brought in.

  • Matt Sander

    These bottles were quite old when they first arrived in Alberta, truly a shadow of what they taste like fresh. I emailed Green Flash about this and never got any response – I guess they are satisfied with serving their stale stock to Albertans! It still a fine IPA, but it really does lose a lot of its magic sitting in unrefrigerated trucks and warehouses for 3 months.

    • Sid

      Matt, the shipment of Green Flash dated end of May actually arrived and was on shelves here in Alberta early July, so it was only 6 weeks old, which is still pretty good & fresh for a highly hopped IPA coming from San Diego. And I gotta say, when I tried it when it arrived it was darned decent, with that great resiny/cat pee hop loveliness going on.

  • Sorry Sid considering US breweries like Laguntias and Rogue get there beer five days after it gets off the bottling line, there is obviously some disfunction between agent and subagent. I say groove on what Lagunitas and Rogue are doing and the trust they have in their agent (not a subagent) if you want the biggest hit of American Alpha Acids in Alberta.

  • Graham

    Speaking of beer and age, does anyone know if it is possible for product to be returned to the system at Connect Logistics by a purchaser? I have heard rumour of this (hopefully bs) and if it is true it could be disastrous here in Alberta with stores buying huge quantities and storing them in varying environments. Figured this was a good place to ask the question. As for dates, the whole issue of best before/bottled on/cryptic code/none at all is going to be an interesting one as the craft ‘fad’ continues to take off. Time for reps to step up, hit the streets, educate consumer and retailers, and sell some beer. Overbuying and slow rotation resulting in lousy drinking experiences is going to be a huge danger to the industry.
    Back on topic…the Green Flash I had definitely ranks among the best and freshest IPAs I have tasted, even compared to some beers coming from within and next door to Alberta.

    • The customer cannot return product to Connect. As to the licensee over buying and hoarding product. If they what to return it there is only a brief window they can do that and there are surcharges from them to do it.

      To the rest, shop at stores and drink at bars that treat there stock with respect.

  • “shop at stores and drink at bars that treat there stock with respect.” Couldn’t have said it better. I do agree with Graham that as consumers become more educated, this will become more of an issue…. hopefully the industry keeps pace and becomes more educated as well. I have seen a lot of stale beer on the shelves in AB and SK. In SK, many consumers (particularly those that don’t travel) have no idea what good fresh craft beer tastes like unless they have bought beer directly from Bushwakker or Paddock Wood.

    As for Green Flash IPA, this is an IPA that seperates the men from the boys so to speak. It’s agressive, big and bold. I used it at a beer vs wine food pairing event, and it was simply too much for most people. I’m not saying those people were “wrong,” but it reinforces my previous paragraph.

  • Graham

    Ahh…thanks for the helpful info. Good to know that isn’t really an option. Yup, the next couple years will determine which breweries, distributor, and stores actually know what they are doing and which are just jumping in blindly and chucking product around. Reputations will be damaged and consumers will be dissappointed, but the best will stand out. Green flash has a nice ‘edge’ to it, I don’t particularly like too much balance and sweetness in an IPA or the hop character doesn’t really come across. Definitely in the regular rotation.

  • Andy Clarke

    Check out Brutal IPA by Rogue.

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