14 August 2009

Never Doubt Thomas

I've noticed, by tracking readership, that I have a lot of readers in and around the Greater Cleveland area. Also, it's been a couple of weeks since I had a beer review. for these two reasons I wanted to do a beer review. Not just any beer review, you see, but a review of a local beer from a local brewery. If you live in, or around, the Cleveland area odds are you've tried Willoughby Brewing Company. If you haven't tried them in a while, let me recommend that you get out there and try them ASAP. Their food has always been great, but with a recent change in Head Brewer and the addition of a new Assistant Brewer their beers have improved exponentially.

The beers have gone from, like, six mediocre standbys to about eight beers, about half of which are constantly changing. Beers like Peanut Butter Cup Porter, Mad Cow Milk Stout, Norther Trail Nut Brown, and too many more to mention. The brew I am reviewing today is a beer that, as the story goes, is the recipe and namesake of the Assistant Brewer, Thomas. The beer is an amazing, bold, Imperial IPA, that is marvelously balanced. It is so well balanced, in fact, that even if you're not a hop head you're sure to love it. As I sipped my snifter (the only beer Willoughby Brewing serves in a snifter right now, due to ABV) of nectar, I looked around the room and noticed that at least one person at nearly every table in the bar, likewise, had a snifter in their hands. Not a bad showing for a first time beer.

Well, without further adieu, Doubting Thomas Double IPA.
APPEARANCE: A bright copper colored brew, bordering on a dark rusty orange. A small yellow to slightly greenish/yellow head off the tap that dissipated quickly leaving a nice amount of lacing on the glass.

AROMA: First and foremost is grapefruit or grapefruit rind, a strong hop presence.

FLAVOR: My first reaction ruby red grapefruit, a slight grapefruit rind, definitely citrus. There is a slight malt character hidden in there, but this really showcases the hops.

PALATE: A full bodied beer with an amazingly smooth and extremely clean taste. It’s almost a touch sweet, like ruby red grapefruit would be, with a lightly crisp, dare I say a hint dry, finish. For the ABV the alcohol heat is well hidden, borderline non-existent. For all of the hops in this beer, twenty pounds for ten barrels if I remember, it’s extremely well balanced and doesn’t blow you pallet out.

NOTES: I could session this beer all summer if it weren’t for the extremely well hidden 8.0% ABV. There is seriously nearly no alcohol heat, and the little that I picked up was only after the beer started to warm up a bit. Even then, the heat was well hidden which was enjoyable for a “big beer”. It is tapped a little on the light side of carbonation, I think, which enhanced the flavor in my opinion. Just a touch of sweetness, lots of citrus flavor, and extremely clean.
By the way, these guys pour sick pints! This is the Mad Cow Milk Stout-On Nitro-but check out how full it is! Have a great weekend, get in a ride, and grab a cold one. If you're in Northeast Ohio, head out to Willoughby and try a Doubting Thomas for yourself.


Bluenoser said...

Seeing it's a namesake beer you better have one ready when I come rolling through town on the big ride.


Cycling Phun said...

You BETTER come through Cleveland! I'll have all kinds of good stuff ready.