Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Giant Flaming Zombie Polar Bear

"What is in a name?" For fans of Shakespeare, it is a question posed by Juliet in Act II, Scene II of Romeo & Juliet.  For a fan of craft beer like me, it is a reason to buy a beer. The name in this case is Giant Flaming Zombie Polar Bear, a double India Pale Ale produced by the brewers at Atlas Brew Works in Washington, D.C. 

I've reviewed many double IPAs over the life of this blog. Firestone Walker's Double Jack (a very, very good beer); Black Flag Brewing's Mambo Sauce (a great introduction to a relatively new brewer); and Columbus Brewing Company's Bodhi (one of the best I've had). I have a particular fondness for double IPAs and tripel IPAs, which is most likely due to my preference for hoppy beers.  The bitterness -- which can range from piney and resinous to citrusy and vibrant -- provides some variety from beer to beer, while the higher ABV ensures that each one packs a punch. 

But, it is that name -- Giant Flaming Zombie Polar Bear -- that caught my eye and led me to purchase a six pack to take home.  There was no actual giant flaming zombie polar bear on the label.  Instead, it was the standard Atlas labelling, which itself is one of the more classic designs out there.  

But, there is more to a beer review than the label. The brewers at Atlas describe this beer as a "deceptively smooth beast." They go on to describe the combination of hops, some that I've heard of and others that are unfamiliar. Bravo, Mandarina Bavaria, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial. This particular combination is supposed to present "orange citrus aromas", along with a "malty backbone" that supposedly "balances the assertive hop bitterness and heavy citrus hop character providing an overall flavor reminscent of orange marmalade." 

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of orange marmalade. While I could definitely sense the elements of oranges, I am not sure that I would go as far to descrive the overall flavor as orange marmalade. Sure, orange marmalade is typically made from bitter oranges, which resonates with the hop bitterness of a double IPA, but, in my humble opinion, this beer lacks the sweetness that one would expect to co-exist with the bitterness of a marmelade. 

All of this discussion is academic, at best, and rambling, at worst. The bottom line is that the Giant Flaming Zombie Polar Bear is one damn good double IPA. It comes very close to unseating the Bodhi in my opinion as the best double IPA that I have reviewed. At 9.4%, it is a double IPA that deserves to be savored, taking occasional sips while relaxing after a stressful day.  Needless to say, I've had a few and that is why I am down to my last can from the six pack.  I will need to go out and find another six pack.  Until then ....