Over the course of writing this blog, I have only reinforced a problem with my palate. I love food and drink that is simply bursting with flavor. Different strokes for different folks.
If you want some Google-harvested research, you can always read this. Or, as I’m sure you know, it’s easy to understand that taste comprehension and thresholds are different for everyone. Mine just happens to react poorly to lightly flavored foods, whereas I get a kick out of sampling a food or beer that goes heavy one way or another with flavor.
This is my love-hate relationship with IPAs. I love them, but hate that sometimes I have a difficult time really breaking them down when it’s not made clear for me. Maybe it’s why I like single hopped ales so much.
Regardless, this was one of the issues I confronted when enjoying Widmer Brothers’ Falconer’s IPA, one of the four offerings from the brewery’s rotator IPA series. It was good to me, but I imagine it may be better to others. Either way, it’s got an 82 on Beer Advocate.
Let’s try to break it down after the jump.
An up-close look at Falconer’s IPA
It makes sense to first start with the hop for which this beer got it’s name called Falconer’s Flight, which was named after Glen Falconer, a former brewer who died in 2002. Hopunion created Falconer’s Flight as a child of several Northwest hop varieties, including Citra, Simcoe and Sorachi Ace. All good hops that I’ve experienced before and enjoyed. Naturally, this helps to impart a slew of flavors and aromas, from tropical fruit to lemon and grapefruit. The most distinctive aromas I picked up were pineapple and grapefruit with a nice earthy bitterness to round it out. In the end, the intense citrus character wins out, giving the beer more of a sweet nose before it goes bitter.
While Falconer’s Flight is used as aroma hops, Widmer fittingly enough used Alchemy hops for bittering, a proprietary hop blend made specifically for Widmer that seems to change each year. I’d love to see what this beer would be like as a reoccurring brew, considering that all hops used in the process are made up from a collection of other rotating hops. It really has potential to be something fun and special on an annual basis.
For as much that goes into the hops, the taste is pretty straight forward. Falconer’s IPA is only 7 percent ABV, but booze was the first thing I tasted as soon as the beer hit my tongue. I tasted some of the citrus for a split second on the middle before a bitterness washed it all away at the end. It’s all pretty standard IPA fare, although I was taken aback by the fact my taste buds never got tired from the bitterness. Like Stone’s 16th Anniversary IPA, the aroma really carries this beer, meaning that if my tongue got tired, at least my nose could pick up the slack. That might have happened here, but the taste of this beer seemed more refreshing than anything else. There’s not a ton of taste, but again that’s OK because the aroma does the heavy lifting.
So what do I think? I’m not so sure. The aroma is great and bursting with variety while the taste seems to take a back seat. I love one and I’m kind of “meh” on the other. Different thresholds, after all.
Falconer’s IPA stats:
- Malt: 2-Row Pale, Caramel 40L, Honey Malt
- Hops: Alchemy (bittering) and Falconer’s Flight (aroma)
- Adjuncts: None
- ABV: 7 percent