We have been greeted by a beautiful day on this Friday morning, so I think we should close out the week with a hop-infused Tasting Notes featuring Highland IPA from Highland Brewing Company (Asheville, North Carolina).
Not too long ago, I let you all know that Highland Brewing is kicking off 2016 with the release of their new year-round Highland IPA. This West Coast-style IPA has been developed to make you rethink any expectations you may have had about IPAs produced in the East. Chinook, Citra and Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest make this all possible by creating huge, juicy hop notes of “tropical fruit, lemon rind, grapefruit.” The folks at Highland Brewing were kind enough to provide me with a bottle of this offering to preview, so let’s get to some Tasting Notes to see if they reached their goal of West Coast aspirations.
Tasting Notes for Highland IPA from Highland Brewing Company
Appearance: Highland IPA pours a vibrant golden body that is incredibly crystal clear. Held to the light, bright yellow and orange hues create a beautiful presentation that absolutely glows. The pour easily produces three fingers of rocky, bright white head that slowly falls over time to a pillowy, half finger top cap. Feeding the head is a lively, cascading carbonation stream. This foam has stick for days and it marks the glass with a spider web of lace throughout the experience. We are off to a good start because the look is certainly spot on.
Aroma: Pungent tropical fruit aromas burst from the glass as soon as this IPA starts filling it. Sweet mango, grapefruit and citrus rind are all present. Some light herbal and spice notes join in to support this juicy presence. This is just all dank hop goodness with a touch of caramel malt sweetness in the back that further draws out the hoppy fruitiness. Simply heavenly on the nose.
Taste: Just as any good West Coast-style IPA should, Highland IPA allows the hops to yet again take center stage and dominate the sensory experience. A resiny pine note starts things off in the flavor department, but that quickly shifts into that amazing fruit bowl of tropical hop goodness. Lemon, tangelo, mango, orange, papaya and various citrus zest all make an appearance here. There is also that light herbal note hiding behind the scenes here as well. Light bready and caramel malts simply complement and meld into the background to allow the hops to do all of the heavy lifting. Delightful.
Mouthfeel: This brew is on the light side of medium in body and it has a touch of sticky weight to it. The resiny hops definitely linger and coat the palate a bit, but it is of course a welcomed characteristic. The beer’s bright carbonation level allows it to dry up nicely after that initial stick. For a 7% ABV offering, there is very little to no alcohol presence to report. Crisp, refreshing and easy drinking all around. Aftertaste is all mango and a sporadic burst of various other fruity goodness.
Final Thoughts: Highland IPA is definitely a win for the East Coast when it comes to producing a West Coast-style hop bomb. Everything falls nicely and neatly where it should be, and I am sure this beer could easily fool many craft beer lovers into believing it was brewed in California or Oregon. The tropical notes are incredibly on point and just crazy good. I could easily work my way through a six pack of this brew and have a hard time not grabbing another sixer on the next beer run. Highland IPA is simply a fantastic brew that absolutely needs to be on any hop fiend’s short list of IPAs to try this year. Make sure to look for it during your next visit to your favorite craft beer-friendly retailer. Prost!