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Iron Hops

Iron Hops: Empirical Brewery’s Infinity IPA

Empirical Brewery Infinity IPA, Heliotropic Hoppy Pale Ale and Cold Fusion Cream Ale

Empirical Brewery Infinity IPA (6.7% ABV)

Pour: 16 oz. into a pint glass

Appearance: Infinity has a hazy, almost murky, orange color with a lasting ivory-colored foam that leaves some lacing around the edges.

Aroma: There’s a lot going on with the smell. I picked up some piny resin and orange aromas. It’s not an intense aroma but it’s there if you want it.

Taste: It’s a pretty easy IPA. It’s plenty hoppy and bitter, a little toasty and you can taste the pine and orange. The bitterness sticks around a while.

Mouthfeel: There’s a decent amount of carbonation but what I noticed most is the crisp, almost dry, feel. It feels cleaner than it looks.

I love a good IPA. I’ve always liked bitter things in general. So when I first ventured into the magical realm of real beer, leaving behind room-temperature 30-racks of Keystone Light, I took to IPAs immediately. The first time I had an IPA I thought it tasted a bit like how BO smells. It wasn’t an insult; I loved it. It was intriguing. I don’t think I need to examine what that says about me. Let’s move on.

A few people I’ve talked to recently feel that IPAs have overstayed their welcome at the forefront of the craft beer movement. I agree to an extent. So many other styles have untapped potential (pun definitely intended) and IPAs are safe and popular. But there’s a reason for that: they’re awesome.

That said, it’s easy for a lot of IPAs to run together in my mind. For an IPA to distinguish itself these days it has to be pretty fantastic. The qualities of a great IPA have always been vague to me. Some that I really enjoy have a sharp, clean bitterness. Others have noticeably fresh hops. And a few just have a billion percent ABV that drowns out all other characteristics.

Empirical Brewery’s mainstay IPA is certainly solid (I did have three of them), but it didn’t really do enough to separate itself from all the other solid IPAs out there. If you see it on tap and you want a good IPA, I recommend it. But don’t expect it to teach you anything new about IPAs.

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