Local Roots Restaurant Lets The Beer Road Make Another On Tap Pick. (This One Is Goes Out To All The Hop Heads)

IPAs, or India Pale Ales, are so popular these days they can seem to dominate the aisles at your local craft beer store.  Unfortunately, they are not too often on tap at your local restaurants, a decision no doubt driven by their reputation as a beer that for most, is hard to get “into”.  Not true right now at Local Roots Restaurant in Roanoke, as they have once again taken a chance with the Beer Road and let me make another suggestion for something to try on tap there.  We went out on a limb a bit, and last week, Stone Brewing’s IPA made its appearance there.  Here’s a quick look at the Stone IPA, and followed by a brief overview of IPAs in general.

Stone Brewing’s IPA

IPAs, due to their intense hop flavors and accompanying amounts of bitterness, are not usually the easiest beer to get “into”.  On the other hand, self proclaimed hop heads, having tossed their trepidation to the wind some time ago, will go on romantically about IPAs as if they’re sharing stories from some road trip that turned out to be one of the best times of their lives.  The uncertainty for those new to the style however, is substantial at times.  All that needs to be mentioned is that a particular beer is “hoppy”, and crowds at the bar tend to scatter quickly.  I’ve often wondered, then, if there is such a thing as an IPA that’s easier than others to ease into, for those curious about such beers.  Honestly, I’m not sure if there is such an animal.  Sometimes, you have to dive right in.

Stone Brewing’s IPA is that kind of example.  No dipping your toe into the water from the edge of the pool here, this is a cannonball right into the deep end, surfacing with a big gasp and feeling refreshed for the experience sort of beer.  Take a good breath.  There’s no going back after the aroma – it invades your nose, pungent with that wonderful IPA combination of pine and hop oils.  It’s a sharp, somewhat bracing experience, and if you’re not used to IPAs and their aromas, they’re different from anything else, and wildly exciting.  The taste follows the smell – puckering, sharp flavors of hop oils, some pine, and a side of an almost indescribable citrus wash over your taste buds the way the water does when you didn’t test it, but dove right in.  The mouthfeel is barely viscous, and only enhances the flavors – it keeps them there, on your tongue, wanting to be tasted.  For what it’s worth, there is a small level of balancing malt sweetness, almost a deep caramel like presence.  But it stays over in the corner, talking to itself quietly, slightly afraid of the hops.  It’s all bracing at first, but this is what a hop head knows – nothing else is quite like this, like these flavors, this aroma, and yes, while the bitterness is most certainly there, if you can eventually accept that there’s more to beers like this than bitterness, they pull you in and keep you there.  If you’re curious about IPAs, I’m not sure there is such a thing as a toe dip into the water – so a beer like this one is perhaps as good a measuring stick as any.  For the lover of hopped up beers, IPAs like this can be beer nirvana – the top of the mountain, after the long climb up.  For some, the trek is too much.  For others, the view from here is nothing short of mind blowing.

Visit Local Roots Restaurant’s Website Here

Check out Stone Brewing

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~ by thebeerroad on August 22, 2011.

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