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randomness, truth, and burritos

Craft Beer: Atwater Brewing Company, Grand Circuis IPA

grand circus ipa

Well I decided to start writing this post early because I am completely jammed up with trying Grand Circus IPA due to a quality issue I will describe in a moment….

I picked up this bottle as part of a pick-a-pack selection the last time I hit the liquor store.  I was intrigued because it is brewed in Detroit, Michigan, my hometown.  I figured I should try it out, and hopefully represent a tasty beer from my hometown.  Because it is part of a pick-a-pack, I cannot quote an exact six-pack price.  I can say that it was priced at $2.49, which was about average for most of the other craft beers available.  I would assume this translates to the six-pack prices as well.

So, why am I starting this post early before I can reasonably taste the beer?  Apparently some post-fermentation or other such issue occurred and the beer I received was severely over-carbonated.  The first splash of beer to hit the glass foamed up completely.  I need to clarify that I mean 1/4 of the bottle turned entirely to foam and filled the cup.  There was no actual legitimate beer in the bottom of the glass for a good five minutes.  Pouring this out I tried again, and the glass immediately foamed up a second time.  I have now been waiting nearly twenty minutes, slowly pouring out more beer as the foam subsides.

It may be harsh to judge the quality of any product with just one data point, but I am glad I didn’t purchase a six-pack of beer that behaves like this.  It is a very disappointing experience to have to wait so long and commit so much effort to drink a single beer.   Having homebrewed several times myself, I am aware there are proven methods to insure a beer does not post-ferment in the bottle and become overcarbonated.  this overcarbonation also concernes me in that it may have released flavors different than normally and may have negatively impacted the flavor of the beer.

To test what I have…

The smell of the IPA is very brisk, with a sweet undertone that reminds me of toffee and cinnamon.  The scent is very strong, likely due to so much aroma being released from the carbonation.

The first taste is shockingly different from the smell I experienced.  The bite of the hops almost feels like it clamps down on your tongue and pushes the subtle aromas I described earlier out of the way.  The beer finishes quickly but pleasantly.  The astringent feel of the initial hops merges into a tart taste like grapefruit.  Despite the shock of the intensity of the initial flavor, I will say this beer comes across as rather invigorating and refreshing.  If the foaming issue is a fluke, I would recommend this beer for a very hot summer day, or perhaps after a long day of yardwork.

The flavoring of this beer is very strong initially, but the flavor experience finishes fast which lends it to be a very comfortable beer to drink.  To be honest, it does kind of remind me of the bold and brisk weather I often encountered when i lived up in Michigan.  If I had a long day of relaxing of playing golf or some other time consuming activity I think I could get through 3-4 of these before I wanted to switch to something else.  Unfortunately, it does seem to lack the body I often associate with a craft beer (again, this could be the carbonation issue).  Because of the body-issue I’m not sure if I would seek this beer out for the craft-beer premium I’d pay to get it.

This beer may be the one for you, but i would recommend you get one like I did and try it before committing to more.

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