Saturday, October 22, 2011

Boxcar India Pale Ale (Belgian Yeast)

Boxcar India Pale Ale
(Belgian Yeast)

Brewed by:
Boxcar Brewing Co.
West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA

Belgian IPA

7.20% ABV

Commercial Description:
Our IPA is a deep golden color ale with a white lingering creamy head. There are hints of citrus and tropical fruits and resinous hops throughout this well-balanced brew, which will compliment food quite well. Pace yourself, this IPA goes down a lot smoother than the ABV would suggest.

Color: Golden
ABV: 7.2%
Hops: Summit (bittering) / Palisades (aroma) / First Gold (dry)
Malt: Pilsner (base)
Available: Year round in 12 oz. bottles and draft.

General Pricing:
12 oz bottles: ~$30.00 each

I stopped in to see the boys at Boxcar a few weeks back to pick up some door prizes and raffle items for my last beer event. Among the gifts were a couple of bottles of their new IPA. I previously reviewed the standard IPA and this one is the one that was made with Belgian yeast.

The beer pours a hazy deep yellow with orange hues and a bright white head.

The nose is delightful with light malt aromas along with citrus and yeasty notes. With a gentle swirl of the glass the most pleasant floral hop complexity is released.

Wow, no I’m a huge Belgian nut so this is really WOW! What a great first sip. This is like the perfect Belgian IPA; very impressive.

The experience starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. This tingling is not all carbonation; there is a definite hop presence there also. There is also an interesting earthiness that develops just before the swallow on the back-end. It is very easy drinking with a slight hesitation at the top of the swallow. That is quickly overcome and effortless into the finish. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that masks some of the flavors but adds a refreshing aspect to the experience. The finish is exquisite and excellently balanced with wonderful pilsner malt flavors, floral hops, citrus notes and that unique Belgian yeastiness that adds a certain perfection to it all. The final aftertaste is modest with a light sweetness, slight floral bite and lingering earthy yeastiness. There is nothing bitter about this ale whatsoever; the hops a floral in nature and delicious without being bitter.

The alcohol is well masked in this ale. You would be hard pressed to think that this was any more than a standard 5% offering. There is however an interesting warming from this beer but that is the only inclination that this is a 7.2% ABV ale.

This is so delicious and so easy drinking I’m almost finished the glass and I haven’t let it warm any. I’ll have to let it sit for a while and come back to it.
This beer will rival any authentic Belgian IPA, and I don’t mean the American misfits either. It is lacking some complexity but this exquisite ale is comparable to Bittere Waarheid (Bitter Truth), Houblon Chouffe, La Rullés or Piraat Ale; the best of the Belgian IPA’s (in my humble opinion).

Ok, I let this sit to warm and open up a little. It was not easy I literally had to walk away from it.

We are now at 72 degrees.

The beer has really opened up nicely. The malt flavors are more substantial now. The carbonation has all released leaving a very smooth sweet ale. The alcohol is almost discernable at this temperature. Still there is no hop bitterness, just the most exquisite earthy and floral hop presence with a dry finish.

This is amazingly good to the last warm drop. And that is always impressive to me.

This experience has been hands down a solid A+. I have had so many American attempts at reproducing the Belgian IPA and most if not all of them have failed. This is the first time I can honestly say “They Got It!” What a wonderful experience. I can only hope that they brew this one again. This exquisite ale can stand toe to toe with any authentically Belgian brewed IPA.

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