Salt Creek Brewery Out of Order Session IPA (4.9% ABV)
Pour: Pint can into a snifter
Appearance: Pours a cloudy gold/copper with a healthy amount of fizzy, persistent off-white head. Good edging, a bit of lacing
Aroma: An interesting mix of malty, flowery/soapy, and iced tea. Not sure I’ve quite smelled anything else like it.
Taste: A lot more flavor than most session beers. Flowery hop notes up front and through the middle. Incredibly bitter finish and aftertaste, like overly steeped tea. The aftertaste is so powerful it overwhelms the rest of the flavor profile after the first sip. So much bitter, but eventually the palate does adjust and a malty note starts to come through on the back end of the profile.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, lightly carbonated. Slightly sticky on the teeth and tongue.
Okay…raise your hand if you know where Bedford, IN is without first looking at a map. Don’t feel bad – I couldn’t do it either. Apparently it’s about a 30 minute shot straight down IN-37S from Bloomington, or roughly midway between Indy and Louisville. Since 2011, Bedford has also been the home of Salt Creek Brewery. Unfortunately, their beers haven’t made it as far north as South Bend, so I can’t find them on the shelves at my local, but our EIC Bryan was good enough to save me a couple of cans of their Out of Order Session IPA that he picked up the last time he was in B-town.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve always been leery of session beers because I conflate them with lawnmower beers in my mind. I know that there’s a huge difference between a low-ABV IPA and a High Life mixed with frozen lemonade concentrate (as a friend once excitedly recommended to me), but what can I say – I’m kind of a snob. I wouldn’t be writing this column otherwise, you know?
Out of Order, however, is a damn fine IPA. I’m not even going to qualify that and throw in the ‘session’ tag. Winner of a silver medal at the 2016 Indiana State Fair Brewer’s Cup, it’s a straight-up excellent beer. Part of its appeal is its fairly unique flavor profile. It tastes as though it’s a generously hopped beer, but there’s also a malty note in there that reminds me a bit of Founder’s Devil Dancer. As the hop combination goes, I couldn’t even begin to guess what they used, but subtle flowery notes—which I’m generally not a fan of—mixed with some spice/tannin (Simcoe perhaps?) that give it an iced tea aroma and taste. It’s also hella bitter. Easily one of the bitterest IPAs I think I’ve ever tasted, especially in the aftertaste, and at first that bitterness lingers for so long that it overwhelms the rest of the flavor profile. Less than half a pint in, though, the palate does adjust and the rest of the beer’s attributes start to come through again.
So if you’re in southern Indiana and ever see Out of Order on the shelf, I highly recommend picking it up. I’d also very much like to try more of their beers myself – so if anyone from Salt Creek happens to be reading this, any plans to start distributing up north anytime soon?