Brewery: Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer: Imperial IPA
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
Character: Brewed with massive amounts of hops such as Amarillo, Cascade, Simcoe and Crystal and paired with Munich, caramel and 2-row pale malts
Ratings at time of Review: BA: 81 | RB: 83
Metal Connection: MONSTROSITY – Imperial Doom
For several years I have seen the beautiful birds that grace the labels of the beers released by Mendocino Brewing Company out of California. I have had a few of them over the last few years, and the latest one being their Imperial IPA, which of course I drank recently since starting this website, so this is the first beer of theirs to be reviewed on BMD.
Kind of coincidental, but just earlier today I read an article today that lists Mendocino Brewing Company as one of five breweries who lost their “Craft privileges.” With so many breweries out there it is hard to know exactly who owns who, who is a contract brewer, who is… who is…. who is…. I found out today, even though it has been several years since the acquisition, that Mendocino is owned majority by UB Group out of India, and that Mendocino owned brewing facilities in Saratoga Springs, NY are used largely to produce UB’s Kingfisher line of beer. Well, I did not know that, and does this fact now change my mind about my thoughts on this beer? Hell no! Read on to hear my thoughts on this tasty beverage!
This Imperial IPA calls for the IPA glass. This beer had a nice clear copper appearance, after the glass chill haze cleared up. My pour was topped with a 2 inch thick white frothy head, even with a not too violent pour. The head went down to a thin layer atop the beverage, but cascaded nicely down the glass with it’s web-like lacing.
The nose was a good blend of hops and malts. Caramel is dominant with a nice hop spicy bitterness. The hops are present with a citrus orange, lemon zest, and grapefruit aroma mixed well with that of pine. Caramel, toffee, earthy notes, brown sugar, with a hint of honey, and toasted bread.
Of course, like the rest of you out there, I was expecting this to be a hop bomb, since it is in fact, a Double/Imperial IPA. Then I remembered that not all IPAs need to be hop bombs. I have had a few other fresh DIPAs that are not overly hoppy, but rather leaning on the malty side, just like this one. With that being said, the first and main flavor profile picked up with this beer is that of caramel malt, and some toffee. There is a hop profile here, but it’s just not as dominant as the malt. There is some citrus like orange and lemon peel, and some grapefruit flavors, mixed with some pine. As with the aroma, there is a subtle flavor profile of sweet brown sugar, some earthy notes, honey, and toasted bread towards the end. The finish and aftertaste is toasted bread, and some citrus.
This Imperial IPA has a medium body with a crisp, yet smooth mouthfeel. There is moderate carbonation, a good bitter bite at the end with a dry finish.
Overall, I really liked this beer. The brewery intended this beer to have a good mix of hops and malts, and in that they succeeded. In the nose and taste each component was picked up rather nicely. But because this beer is not considered a “craft Brewery” by true definition from the Brewer’s Association, I better be careful. It’s like saying that I am a fan of new Metallica or Pantera among a group of elitist metal heads.
Metal Connection: How Imperial can we get here? How about some “Imperial Doom” by Florida’s old school Death Metal band, Monstrosity. The song “Imperial Doom” is the title track from the band’s 1992 debut album, and is a classic staple when referring to the golden days of US Death Metal. I remember seeing a music video from Monstrosity on the VHS video compilation called Death is just the Beginning…, and in their segment they interviewed the band, and their then vocalist, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher replied with remarks like “We aren’t all blood and guts!” “We leave that to the other guys.” Of course, probably referring to fellow Death Metallers, Cannibal Corpse, which Mr. Fisher now sings for. I always find that rather funny. He really seemed to hate gore lyrics back then, and now that is all that he sings, and of course, Cannibal Corpse is now the biggest Death Metal band in the world. Go figure! Well here you go, another offering of old school Death Metal, which will always be more superior to a lot of the new so-called Death Metal released today.