Sweetwater IPA -- My reliable beer for all occasions
Sep 8, 2010
Pros: Flavor, flavor, flavor
Cons: Difficult to get outside the US Southeast
The Bottom Line: It would be my reliable favorite at twice the cost and even if non-alcoholic.
With the exception of Guinness on draught, my beer of choice is an IPA, and I never give up the chance to try a new one. But if the new one sucks, I keep a Sweet Water IPA on immediate standby. It is a reliable and high quality beer. I’m lucky that where I live is less than 2 hours from the source; if Sweet Water Brewery Company decided not to distribute beyond Atlanta, I’d be able to get at least a bottle in relatively short order. I guess that’s a bit mean to beer lovers that only see Atlanta on layovers.
It is almost pure amber, lighter than most IPAs I know well. It also has a nasty habit of foaming up uncontrollably if poured poorly in a frosted glass – you have to pour it slowly. This nuisance is the only significant problem I have with this beer.
The trick for IPAs is to balance the ale sweetness with the extra hoppiness that separates an India Pale from the other ales. Sweet Water creates this balance with a strong, dry citrus flavor, specifically yellow grapefruit. While that might sound unpleasant, it truly works. Lately, most IPAs have become too sweet for me, this extra citrus flavor in this beer keeps sweetness to the correct level. It could be more obviously hoppy, but I say that about nearly all IPAs so I can hardly fault this beer for the same “sin’ as its brothers.
At no point does the beer get what I call the filmy albumin flavor that pops up for many ales if served too far outside the ideal temperature. The flavor is consistently good from the initial taste through to the last of the after-taste. If you can get your hands on it, by all means lay hands on it without a second thought.