Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hops on the Rampage

"Wading through the jungle of beers on the shelf can be daunting, even mind numbing," reads the label.  "Session beers have their place," the label adds, "but this is not your normal sitting beer."  An Imperial India Pale Ale can never be mistaken for a session beer, with aromas and tastes thick with citrus and pine.  "Sort of like the big fella on the front," the possessed elephant, "he's been called ... Nothing but a massive thundering rampage of hops will do...."

Imperial India Pale Ales beckon a history of beer where brewers produced beer for the crews of vessels with names such as Atlas, Bengal, Hercules, and Sovereign, as they traveled thousands of miles to reach ports where, once they were ashore, they could see ... among other things, elephants.

A little closer to home, Black Diamond Brewing Company produces the Rampage Imperial IPA from its brewery in Concord, California.  The brewery gets its name from the nearby coal mines, where miners hauled black diamonds from the Earth. 

The Rampage pours copperish gold in color, which approximates the ideal color of an Imperial India Pale Ale.  A thin foam rests along the surface of the beer, which slowly recedes toward the edges, leaving a palette of foam resembling the clouds in the sky.  

As one would expect, the aromatic elements of the Rampage foreshadows what is to come.  The aroma features a range of citrus, principally grapefruit, with a little hint of grass. The taste is grapefruit first and foremost, with tastes of resin and pine following the citrus flavor. The bready flavors of the malt linger around the edges of the beer. 

I found this beer at a local market.  A 22-ounce bottle sells for about $8.99.  And, as the brewer says, "[b]ecause you can't really tame the beast, but you can definitely make it happy."


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