WarPigs Lazurite American IPA (6.8% ABV)
Pour: 12oz can into a snifter.
Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy medium-gold color with a healthy amount of thick, persistent off-white head. Nice edging, plenty of lacing.
Aroma: Subtly sweet and fruity – candied pineapple, maybe a hint of freshly cut grass. Surprisingly mellow nose, given 3F’s reputation for brewing hop bombs.
Flavor: Pretty understated for an IPA, unbelievably understated for a 3F beer. Well-balanced – slightly bitter up front, citrus and a hint of caramel malt in the middle, a bit grassy and bitter in the finish. Mildly bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low carbonation. Very sticky – definitely leaves a film on the teeth and tongue.
WarPigs Brewing is a relative new collaborative effort between Munster, IN’s 3 Floyds Brewing and Danish brewery Mikkeller. Now I can already hear what you’re thinking, because I was thinking the exact same thing: another IPA from 3 Floyds? Seriously? Does the craft beer world really need another one of those?
But hold your judgment for just a minute and hear me out.
I’ve mentioned in previous columns that I have my issues with 3 Floyds, particularly the roles they’ve played in helping to create the craft beer collectors’ bubble with Dark Lord Day and in popularizing the ‘hop bomb’ style of IPA that so many breweries imitate. But I’m not too stubborn to be able to admit when 3F—or, in this case, WarPigs—makes a good beer. And make no mistake: Lazurite is a very good beer.
Still, I dragged my feet on trying any of WarPigs’s beers because the 3F brewing style is so distinctive that Iwas expecting Lazurite to be a case of same beer, different name. I can’t yet speak to the characteristics of any of their other beers, but I was as wrong as I could possibly be about Lazurite. In fact, the one word I’d use to describe Lazurite is one word I’d probably never use when discussing any of 3F’s beers:
This beer is not a hop bomb. Instead, it’s very smooth and well-balanced, with a nice mix of hop characteristics. My guess would be that either Mosaic or something very similar is the primary hop in the brew because Lazurite has a fruity, slightly sweet character to it, but there’s also some grassy notes and just enough bitterness to keep the sweetness from being overwhelming. The 6.8% ABV is pretty friendly as well, and I ended up cashing an entire six-pack in one evening and didn’t feel like walking death the next morning. If this beer is indicative of the rest of WarPigs’s offerings, I will definitely be tracking more of them down soon.