Flying Fish Brewing Co. – Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA
When it comes to choosing beers, I am generally a stylistic creature of habit. Hoppy? Sold. But on occasion, I am drawn to a brew because of something unusual, whether it be an odd ingredient or a snarky name. (I am especially guilty of being sucked in by witty labeling, which does not always turn out so well.) This capriciousness has yielded some fantastic discoveries, alongside the expected fair amount of disappointments. (This is how I discovered that Wild Ales are really not so pleasing to my palate – so much carbonation!) Luckily, this weekend, I chose wisely.
The foundation of beer is drawn from a simple repertoire of ingredients: cereal grains (usually barley and/or wheat), hops, and the ever-important water. On occasion, you will see the addition of flavorings, like fruit, florals, herbs, espresso, chilies, and the chance odd-ball like peanut butter or bacon. This time, however, I was intrigued by the alteration of the malt to include multiple varietals of rice. As someone who lived in Asia for a year, I am well-versed in the laudable merits of distilling or brewing with rice.
Flying Fish Brewing Co. takes two traditional malts (pils and pale) and adds in three types of rice to brew Exit 16: wild, organic brown, and organic white. The addition of rice yields a much drier brew, which is the perfect backdrop on which to feature the five hops varietals that are added into the mix. Not only does this beer feature unexpected grains, it is also a veritable parade of the best of hops. Unusual and hoppy? I think I found a keeper.
This beer pours a slightly cloudy, light apricot color. The nose presents faint hops, while the first sip yields the familiar tang and taste of Citra and Chinook hops. Considering the cornucopia of hops in this brew, it is unsurprising that the palate holds a light flavor of tropical fruit and the expected sweet citrus notes of a Double IPA. However, the hops are not overwhelming: with an IBU of 62, this beer is very drinkable while still quenching my desire for bitterness. The rice components are not so noticeable in the flavor, but they are when compared to similar IPAs made without the grain. The rice provides a crisp, clean base in which to showcase this beer’s quinary hops input.
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