Tag Archives: drinkNA

atmos – kora double hop IPA

as i always do, i must preface this review with the disclaimer that i don’t typically like IPAs and didn’t ever drink them when i was drinking alcoholic beer, so i often don’t even understand the various styles of IPAs. i had to look up what “double hop” even meant.

(actually, i’m still not clear. is it double dry hopped? or double IPA? are those the same thing? i think it means double dry hopped, which means adding more hops post-fermentation in the hopes of making a more complex aroma/flavor profile. i think double IPA just means double the amount of hops, which i guess could mean either before/after fermentation.)

so take my opinion with a grain of salt if you are someone who really loves IPAs. i’m probably not the best judge.

but this was the latest round of the tastNA club where i get to sample new and hopefully interesting beers for free in return for an honest review. this is only the second round for me, with the big drop pale ale being the first one. (it was hoppy but i still liked it because it was balanced and smooth.) so i’m trying to approach this with an open mind to see what i think, but i will hope there will be future rounds of the tasteNA club that include other beer styles that aren’t IPAs or pale ales.

this hazy double hop IPA is from atmos brewing (formerly ethos brewing), an independent NA craft brewery based in hailey, idaho. it was sent to us reviewers fresh from the canning line, which is really nice. (there are a lot of discussions in the NA beer world about freshness, as without alcohol as a preservative, NA brews don’t have as long of a shelf life once canned. and IPAs specifically seem to lose the effects of the hops over time.)

it poured a nice golden yellow color, minimally hazy, and had a respectable head to it. it was definitely very aromatic – kinda floral, a little sweet fruity smelling, piney. (the info card that comes with the beer says it’s a combination of chinook, citra, mosaic and azacca hops.)

sadly for me, it smells better than it tastes. i don’t get the same complexity in the taste that i get in the aroma. i get a woody, piney, strongly bitter flavor that’s just kinda flat and for my palate is just hops overkill. like, it kills my taste buds immediately.

it has a light body to it, a little thin – mouthfeel is ok but i wouldn’t call it full-bodied. it goes down pretty easy and the flavor dissipates pretty quickly once it hits my throat, leaving not much of an aftertaste. but i think this pretty much encapsulates what i don’t like about IPAs in general – the strong hops just overpowers everything and leaves my taste buds unable to enjoy the experience.

i just think IPAs are not for me. maybe my palate is just not geared to appreciating the nuances of a beer like this. but if you are someone who really likes a 50 IBU IPA with four different kinds of hops, maybe you’d like this. but it is clearly a beer made with a lot of intention and care, so kudos to atmos for their dedication to the craft. maybe i need to try their golden ale!

big drop – pine trail pale

well, thanks to the dysfunction of the usps these days, it took nearly two weeks to get to me in new orleans from chicago (even with priority mail), but i finally poured my very first tasteNA sample from big drop brewing, their pine trail pale.

it’s funny how for most of my adult life, i have not enjoyed pale ales, IPAs or anything that has a strong hops bitterness to it. i’m usually much more of a dark beer fan, a lover of maltiness, sweetness, and caramel, chocolate, nut, and/or coffee undertones. but now that i’m drinking NAs, i’m finding i can tolerate hops more and actually enjoy it in some brews. i don’t think i’m gonna become a huge IPA fan anytime soon, as things labeled as such usually have much higher IBU than things simply labeled pale ale and i’m not that into the bitterness, but i’m happy to have more options.

so, this beer. it arrived earlier today, late morning, due to its detour and extended stay in a distribution center in southaven, MS, so it was only in the fridge for like 6-7 hours. but i couldn’t wait any longer! (my fridge is petty cold though.)

first of all, i love their can design and logo. the company is originally from the UK and has just recently started brewing and distributing here in the US, so it has a bit of a different “cool” look to it than a lot of the US NA brands. this should help them stand out on the shelves, for sure.

it poured a pretty pale yellow color but had minimal head. usually that would make me think it might be flat, but not in this case and really didn’t bother me visually. it had a fresh, floral aroma that was inviting. the carbonation and body of the beer was great, good mouthfeel – that addition of lactose really helps it to feel like a beer in my mouth. i get the pine, a little citrus (lime), and the hops bite is there, prominent but not overpowering. it’s light and crisp and paired nicely with my pasta dinner. i can see why it won a world beer award for style!

i would drink this again for sure, and now that i have an idea of the quality of their beer, i’m even more excited to try their galactic extra dark, which is basically a stout. thanks tasteNA for the chance to sample this! hopefully next time it won’t take 2 weeks to get to me!