Thanks to Joe Wietlispach for giving me this beer as I waited outside Great River Brewery Saturday afternoon waiting for Paul to arrive so I could start my bartending shift. Tasted Sunday afternoon prior to going to the MUGZ homebrew meeting.
Appearance: Pours a rustic brown with a filtered clarity. In the glass it is perceptively dark mahogany in color. The head is a strong off white cream color with sticky lacing. Inconsistent soapy bubbles are another component of the frothy mixture set atop the beer.
Aroma: A tropical citrus permeates immediately from the beginning, leaving the impression of cascade (I'm not all to familiar with the Syrian scent). A mild malt base is structured of toasted grain and caramel sweetness.
Taste: Similarly, the caramel is present faintly under the hop flavor in the foretaste, but is then re-introduced towards the end. As the palate adjusts, more of a roasted character emerges, though remaining predominantly subtle. The end results in a mixture of boastful citrus and pine complemented with a touch of grassiness and tannins, all of which dry out the palate but leave the mouth crisp and refreshed. The aftertaste is a bit grainy with a hint of roasted...pine. As the beer warms, I become a little less excited about the aftertaste which evolves into more of a leafy neutral bitterness...Though there is some resemblance to a bittersweet chocolate flavor.
Mouthfeel: Bubbly and crisp with a medium to light body but with some sticky presence on the lips. Tactfully smooth going down, following the brief, but subtle spike along the surface of the tongue. Drying.
Overall Impression: Awesome flavor profile, especially the interesting parallel between malt complex and the citrus hop bitterness. Cool idea, and a lighter, maybe brown IPA.