Nick Carr on February 1, 2016 0 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Co. Location: Fort Collins, CO Style: White IPA ABV: 6.2% IBU: 55 Appearance: Sun-bleached straw color with rocky white foam; Excellent head retention that leaves spider-like lacing; Cloudy with floating sediment. Aroma: Mix of tropical fruit & citrus; Belgian yeast adds musty spice; Low tones of malt flirt with the nose. Flavor: Tropical fruits, musty spice & citrus bitterness are prominent; Notes of malty sweetness; Finish is dry & slightly bitter. Hops: Nugget, Centennial, Mosaic, Amarillo Malts: Pale, Wheat Shelf Life: Less than 3 months Suggested Glass: Mug, Pint or IPA glass Serving Temp: 45°F – 50°F Availability: Winter Seasonal Pairs With: Lime Cilantro Chicken Tacos, Sharp Vermont Cheddar, Avocado Ice Cream Maybe more than any other seasonal, I have an affinity for the parade of winter beers. I like winter warmers with their big malt bills, deep roast character, and warming alcohol. They are what winter calls for. So, I have a tendency to view any winter seasonal outside these standards suspiciously. Of course this isn’t to say I have a problem with bucking trends or going against the grain, that’s what craft beer is all about, and exactly what Brewmaster Grady Hall was getting at when he brewed this beer. But, during the cold winter month, when snow drifts down out of leaden gray skies and covers the world in crisp silence and the wind blows off the mountains, whistling with the songs of winter ghosts; I have very little desire to reach for anything with a dainty body or light color. I need something with sticking substance, something that blankets and warms. So, I usually drink far fewer IPA’s during the winter months. Adding to my palate perplexity is the idea of a pale wheat beer during winter — White IPA’s are sort of a weird marriage between a Belgian Wit and an IPA — which to me strictly speaks to the hot weather of summer. BUT, it’s New Belgium. And though, I have an ongoing suspicion New Belgium decides what beers their going to stop producing solely on how much I like them — Hoptober, Springboard, Mighty Arrow, Snow Day, and (the one I miss the most) Frambozen. Granted, a couple of these have been revived long enough to make it into the Folly Pack, but I miss them… especially the Frambozen; that was a great winter beer, especially appropriate around the holidays. Despite these misguided choices it is a great company and anything they decide to put out there is worth a try. Starting in 2013 New Belgium went a different route with their winter seasonal, creating a White IPA to take the place of Snow Day (if I remember correctly). White IPA (despite what I’ve said) is a clever style to undertake as a winter ale. The name can easily entice images of winter flurries and it gives all those hardcore hop heads out there something different to look forward to during the cold months. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Accumulation IPA. If you’ve recently tasted this beer, please share your thoughts or comments with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Accumulation pours a sun bleached straw color. A two-finger head of rocky white foam grows and almost rolls out the top of my glass. Head retention is excellent and a spider-web of fine lacing is left behind as it slowly descends. The beer itself is cloudy with sediment. When held to light it reminds me of a late afternoon sunbeam highlighting floating moats of dust. Aroma is a pleasant mix of tropical fruit and citrus. Pithy orange and grapefruit rind mix with character notes of pineapple and low kiwi. The Belgian yeast puts its pervasive signature musty spice into the mix, while low tones of crackery malt flit along the edges. Mouthfeel and Taste: Medium-high carbonation pushes a mostly smooth mouthfeel and a medium-light body. Slightly astringent and no warming presence. Some tropical fruit elements toward the front of the palate before a musty spice presence (guess who) overhangs it all pushing the more prominent, grapefruit and slight orange taste of rindy-citrus bitterness. Some malt sweetness, especially the grainy character of the wheat. Bitterness at the back shows citrusy and pith-like, like eating a grapefruit rind; not overly bitter, but enough to let you know this is an IPA. The end is drying, slightly bitter, and citrusy. FINISHING THOUGHTS It’s a nice IPA; well balanced, bringing a play of citrus, wheaty grain, and passing bitterness. But again, my senses just won’t let me get past the idea that I should be drinking this beer in the warming days of early spring or the heat of summer. For those looking for a winter IPA you’ve found one. Though it may not impress the one’s seeking giant IBU numbers, it will at the very least be something new in the sea of year round IPA’s. For me it’s a great beer out of season. Cheers!