The hops are certainly hitting the spot these days in the Woolfolk household, and I’m going to get my early-week lupulin fix by taking a look at The Hook Grapefruit Session IPA from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia) in this segment of Tasting Notes.
The Hook Grapefruit Session IPA is the newest Seasonal Series release from Starr Hill Brewery. This low ABV, easy-drinking India Pale Ale boasts quite the impressive hop bill consisting of Apollo, Centennial, Citra and Falconer’s Flight hops to create a huge citrus character in a little package. To further boost those citrus notes and add a slight touch of tartness, grapefruit zest was then used during the brewing process to take things to that next level of quenching goodness. The Hook Grapefruit Session IPA is available starting in May and can be found at craft beer-friendly retailers in Alabama and throughout Starr Hill’s distribution area. You can pick this one up on draft or in six-packs of 12 oz. bottles. At just 4.9%, ABV, this tasty little number looks to be a great addition to your rotation of beers for warm weather sippin’. Now that those details are covered, let’s pour one up and jot down some Tasting Notes.
Tasting Notes on The Hook Grapefruit Session IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
Appearance: The Hook rolls into the glass bright orange in color, and bursts of lighter oranges and rich golden yellows illuminate vibrantly when held to direct light. The pour produced a little more than two fingers of bubbly, airy foam that is slightly off-white to cream in color. The loose head retreats quickly to a thin ring and a few floating masses of foam that ride the waves out after each sip. The body is pristine, crystal clear and showcasing a huge display of carbonation through the bulb of the glass. Lace is spotty at times, but mostly just slips back onto that foamy ring. Pretty standard in presentation, but the color is quite impressive.
Aroma: This brew may be small in ABV, but it is livin’ large in the hop aromatics. Grapefruit zest, meat and pith is all present here, but no surprise there. The surprise is how truly clear and pronounced that it is and really captures the essence of the fruit. Other sweet citrus and tropical fruits such as orange, tangerine, pineapple and mango can be found and a slight floral character is here as well. Reserved but still punchy with those hops. I like that.
Taste: The hops and grapefruit lead the charge once again, but not with the raw aggression that was implied in the nose. The grapefruit note is a touch more laid back in flavor, allowing the other fruit notes of tangerine, mango, pineapple, meyer lemon, melon and sweet berry to present themselves. A floral earthiness supports all of those notes, and the malts are light and only lend a slight orange blossom honey-like sweetness to the mix. The grapefruit is here to push those fruit notes out even more, but also lends some tartness to cut any sweetness or bitterness. The hops all shine, but are effortlessly balanced. Crazy juicy.
Mouthfeel: This beer is super light in body and the carbonation level is large enough to push the refreshing quality of this offering into the “ridiculously drinkable” category. The ABV . . . yeah, nothing to report there. There is a wonderful balancing act going on here that keeps any aspect of tartness, bitterness or sweetness in check and keep the experience quite satisfying. Crisp, dry and absolutely crushable. Aftertaste is minimal, but it does leave a touch of juicy fruit behind to entice that next sip.
Final Thoughts: A session IPA that drinks like water but is poppin’ with juicy tropical and citrus fruit notes? I’d say Starr Hill Brewery pulled this Session IPA off without a hitch worth mentioning. Although the flavor profile may not be aggressive and/or bitter/”hoppy” enough for some fanatical hopheads, you have to realize that this is a low ABV offering meant to get you a hop fix without the weight of the bigger, more aggressive IPAs out there. The Hook Grapefruit Session IPA is here to provide plenty of hop love during the heat of the day without slowing (or knocking) you down. Fire up that mower, you have a new reward waiting on you in the beer fridge after you get done. Prost!