Breakfast Beer Tasting: Green Flash Hop Head Red

Another day, another new type of IPA. You’ve had the double, you’ve had the imperial and everyone by now has had a black IPA. But have you had a red IPA? Yes, red. Well I haven’t. This has been recommended to me and comes with a glowing reputation amongst our American cousins. However, and whisper this only in an empty room, some people regard this actually as an amber ale, albeit it a heavily hopped one. Not being a fan of the amber/red (crystal malt, crystal malt) style generally, I’m somewhat dubious as to its credentials. However, Green Flash is an excellent brewery, so I’m willing to suspend my suspicions.

It’s a 12oz bottle and weighs in at 7%. Interestingly, last year’s batch was 6.4%, but they have cranked the alcohol up to cope with the increase in IBUs from 55 to 70. It poured hazy amber with good carbonation and a large beige head. The aroma was a pungent blast of floral hops-not much pine-and some good grapefruit and melon notes. And is that a little sweet malt in there as well? No surprises that the taste has a powerful bitter bite. It’s packed full of Nugget and Columbus and dry-hopped with Amarillo for good measure.

So it’s all good, then? Well, yes, it’s a powerful blast of hop power as you’d expect from an IPA. But the sweet malt is still there. Granted it’s less intrusive than in the majority of red ales, but upping the alcohol strength hasn’t helped and it remains, at heart, an amber ale. Albeit a heavily hopped one. That tinge of sweetness doesn’t ruin it, but it does spoil it a little. For this IPA aficionado, at least.

Tyson says: Close but no cigar. 


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