Breweries tend to lighten things up when they trot out their summer seasonals. Truth be told, a lighter, more refreshing beer can be just what the doctor ordered after a long day of suburban home maintenance tasks. It takes a special brand of hubris for a brewery to say “the hell with that,” and unleash a giant flavor kraken onto unsuspecting summer drinkers. Green Flash did just that with Road Warrior, their new summer seasonal.
Road Warrior first saw the light of day under the name Imperial Red Rye as part of Green Flash’s Hop Odyssey series of hop-forward beers. The positive response in the Green Flash tasting room, and on the road, inspired the team of Green Flash sales representatives to lobby for the beer to be produced on a larger scale. The higher-ups listened, and renamed the beer in honor of their well-travelled sales staff.
Road Warrior is an acronym-defying Red Imperial Rye India Pale Ale. The beer pours a dark red with a thick tan head that dissipates at a moderate pace. The aroma has a pleasant blend of hops and rye, but nothing is overpowering.
While the aroma isn’t overwhelming, Road Warrior’s flavor makes up for it tenfold. The initial burst of flavor as you drink is a blend of sweet malt and rye spiciness. As the beer washes over the tongue, the hops take over with a bitter punch with citrus and pine flavors. The beer finishes dry on the palette, leaving you anxious for the next sip.
Besides the flavor profile, rye also adds heaviness to Road Warrior’s mouthfeel. This beer wouldn’t be nearly as successful without it, because it also packs a hefty 9% ABV wallop. This much is clear: while some breweries use their summer seasonal beers to help you cool down from mowing the lawn, Road Warrior is Green Flash’s way of helping you ease into your well-deserved post-mow nap.
Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Co.
City: San Diego, CA
Style: Imperial Rye India Pale Ale
Availability: Summer seasonal. 12-oz. bottles, 22-oz bombers and draft