Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Imperial IPAs — Green Flash Road Warrior vs. McKenzie Brewing Hopasaurus Rex

Green Flash
Road Warrior 
(Imperial Rye India Pale Ale) 
ABV 9% 

McKenzie Brewing
Hopasaurus Rex
ABV 9.5% 
I'm always pleased to see a new Green Flash beer on the shelves so I snatched up this bottle of Road Warrior. Unfortunately I could find no other Imperial Rye IPA options so I went with a bottle of IIPA from McKenzie Brewing (which is the outside distribution line of Steelhead Brewery in Eugene). So we've got Rye vs. Regular and San Diego vs. Eugene. Here's how it went down.

We tasted blind as usual, but it was pretty pointless because rye malt imparts a dark reddish hue to beer so it was obvious based on the color which beer was which.

Beer #1 (Road Warrior) was reddish brown with a real spicy rye bread and grass aroma. The body was rich, creamy and malty with more rye spice showing through and the finish was dominated with rye notes as well with a mellow bitterness.

Beer #2 (Hopasaurus) was a rich orange hue and featured a sweet, vanilla, caramel and cotton candy-like aroma. The flavor was sweet with notes of dried fruits and toasted nuts. The finish was a tad citrusy with some burnt wood bitterness. 

Our overall impression was that both beers fell on the malty side of the IIPA spectrum. Neither offered up anything special in the way of aroma hops and neither were very bitter in the finish. Being a malty IIPA is nothing to be ashamed of, it's just one of many interpretations of the style. Both were enjoyable but the Road Warrior really impressed us with its strong rye presence and fantastic body. It was the first time we've had a rye beer that we could actually detect much rye character. So if you're looking for a fun and unique IIPA we'd recommend getting a bottle (or two) of the Road Warrior before it disappears in August.

Unanimous decision: Green Flash Road Warrior

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