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CBoTB: Taste Test of Two Tropical IPA’s

Two weeks ago, I talked about the history and sub-styles in the IPA beer style—the most popular craft beer in the United States.  Then last week, I shared a taste test of two Triple IPA’s.

This week, it’s two Tropical, or Citrus, IPA’s that I tasted side-by-side.  Tropical/Citrus IPA’s may or may not have fruit added to the beer in the brewing process.  But they are all designed to have strong citrus and fruit flavors and aromas.  

But sometimes things don’t go as planned and the beer is released anyway.  And that’s exactly what I discovered in my side-by-side taste test of two Tropical/Citrus IPA’s: Evolution Brewing’s Pine’hop’le and TropicCannon from Heavy Seas Beer.

Once again, I went to my glassware collection and selected two 14-ounce snifters and poured each beer high and hard, allowing the beer to crash into the glass.  This process released large amounts of carbonation and created big heads for each beer.  It takes a little patience to pour this way because you really have to wait until the head settles.  But the beer ends up being smoother and more drinkable.  Both beers were in 12-ounce cans and similar in ABV with TropiCannon at 7.2% and Pine’hop’le at 6.8%.

From an appearance perspective, both beers had white, frothy heads and each had warm, clear colors.  Heavy Seas TropiCannon had an orange amber hue and Evolution’s Pine’hop’le was yellow.  I’ve had each of these beers many times and the appearance of each was consistent with my past experiences.

First up for a tasting: Pine’hop’le.  I first had Pine’hop’le in 2016, its debut year.  It was amazing!  The beer was very much of an IPA, but there was a wonderful rich, pineapple quality to it that was neither overwhelming nor, in any way, sweet.  It tasted exactly what the name and label indicated: an IPA with lots of pineapple juice.  I’ve had it each year since then, but it’s never quite captured the first year’s aroma or flavor profile.  But I still wanted to try it again, hoping that Evolution had re-found their initial creative juices.  Unfortunately, this year’s version was a huge disappointment.  As I raised the snifter to my nose, I smelled nothing that resembled pineapple; the beer had notes more typical of a Pale Ale.  And when I took in my first, second, and third taste, I found no hint of anything resembling pineapple and, like its aroma, the beer tasted more like a traditional Pale Ale and had very little of what I expect from any IPA. 

The second beer was TropiCannon.  Heavy Seas first brewed this in 2016 as a seasonal, limited release beer.  It was so successful that just one year later—2017—it was shifted to a year-round beer.  When I lifted the glass for my first taste, I picked up strong grapefruit and orange scents.  As I took in my first drink, my mouth exploded with fruit flavors.  Lemon, mango, pineapple and orange.  There is nothing subtle about the citrus flavor profile in TropiCannon and, as a result, is one of Heavy Seas most popular beers.   

It’s summertime.  And with this tropical heatwave, grab a Tropical IPA and quench your thirst!



The Craft Beer Guy


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