Many West Coast breweries love hops. And I mean “loooovve” hops. Hence the West Coast IPA moniker, indicating a subcategory of India Pale Ale that is loaded with enough hops to make the whole room smell like a pine forest that encloses a citrus grove, and a bitterness level that the non-hopheads often finds too intimidating.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing of Southern California (two locations: Long Beach and Seal Beach) embraces the West Coast IPA style in the making of its Thrillseeker India Pale Ale.
Beachwood is a small brewery, but it sports bona fides in the craft beer world. It won five medals – two gold – and was named Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. The company does double-duty as a barbecue joint at both locations, and offers a wide array of other craft beers on tap and in the bottle.
The Thrillseeker is brewed with Chinook, Summit, Centennial and Simcoe hops, then dry-hopped with more Chinook and Simcoe. That’s a lot of hops, and it becomes evident as soon as the top is popped. Aromas of the hop stew emanate from the bottle, becoming even more pronounced when it’s poured.
The copper-gold hue comes close to the color of the shiniest part of Iron Man’s armored suit, and the head comprises a cluster of tiny clinging bubbles that maintains its consistency throughout the consumption.
But the hops, oh the hops. Upon the first sip, that pine forest/citrus grove suddenly sprouts on the tongue, then finishes with a whopping dollop of the bitterness that you knew was coming.
Thrillseeker is not the first beer that Beachwood has packaged in 22-oz. bombers, but it’s the first IPA.
I admit to being a hophead, but lately I’ve been moving away from the high-ABV bitter bombs that were the style du jour the past few years. However, it’s nice to revisit them on occasion, and Thrillseeker is a fine beer to come back to.
Brewery: Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
City: Long Beach, Calif.
Style: West Coast IPA
Availability: On tap at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach and Beachwood Brewery in Long Beach. Limited availability in 22 oz. bottles in Southern California.