Anderson Valley – 20th Anniversary

Tasting: November 26, 2011
Style: Imperial IPA

anderson

Nearly seventy degrees outside today – I’ll call it the perfect day to cut a Christmas tree — and that’s just what we did. Some might say that it’s better a holiday experience with a little of winter’s chill in the air – but not me. If there are ten thousand trees to look at — my wife will want to see at least nine thousand of them. Believe me, there have been years when I’ve been out there with my fingers and ears numb with an anxious saw in my hand telling her just to pick one already. The kids are already typical men — they both wanted trees that stood about 20 yards from the car. It was a perfect day – up until the part where I pulled into our garage with the tree on the roof. Not that I didn’t know I had a tree on the roof — it was the moment when I wondered if I should take it off inside or outside the garage that was my brain lapse. Needless to say, I have a couple of dents in the trim of the garage door.

Speaking of pine trees — sounds like a good occasion for a piney Imperial IPA. Not that I know that this one is piney — I’m just guessing since this is my first beer from this California brewery. Well, I don’t think I’m going to get piney with this one as it smells very herbal and sweet, like green tea with honey and grapefruit. A rather thin white layer sits atop this amber brew. Has some faint ruby color as well. First sip is earthy, herbal. Up front it’s caramel and honey sweetness over some grassy hops. The wow factor here is the hop finish — huge hop bitterness like strong black tea gives you a mouth puckering strong and dry finish. It leaves you thirsty for another sip. I do wish there was more of that malty backbone here — but it really is a nice beer. 87 points.

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