Fort Collins-based Odell Brewing is new to Arizona, opening up distribution with a packed-house party in Scottsdale some weeks ago. Because Mindy was working a 30-hour shift, and I do love a new beer, I stopped in to the packed-house, catching the national championship game on a TV with folks clamoring around me.
I'm not a fan of crowds, but missing out on Odell would've been a huge mistake.
When it comes to regular IPAs (as opposed to double or imperial), I'm of the opinion that bitter is better. The more "citrusy" and "floral" come to mind when I'm sipping a new brew, the more I'm apt to come back for more. I might always prefer a Maharaja or a Rogue Imperial, but those are special treats. Further, I want something bottled. Nimbus Brewing, for instance, has an excellent IPA, but I'm not driving to Tucson. I want a bottled IPA I can drink on our back patio while the grill is going.
The most citrusy and floral IPAs I've found have been out of Caldera Brewing in Ashland, Oregon and Big Sky Brewing in Missoula. Big Sky is my go-to if it's available since Caldera doesn't distribute down here. Until Odell, that is.
I don't know what it is, but Odell is doing something different. The way I'd describe it, and this may sound awful, is like biting a juicy wedge of ripe grapefruit. That level of citrus isn't rare, but the experience is...while Big Sky and Caldera smack your tonsils with IBUs, Odell is content to leave you with delicate floral tones and lip-smacking layers of hoppy fruit.
Odell's 90 Shilling Scottish and 5 Barrel Pale Ale are good, but the IPA is where it's at to me. Sadly, Odell isn't available any farther west than Arizona...a shame, since hopheads in California and Oregon are missing out. It's nice to know American IPAs, unlike their British counterparts, are still pushing boundaries.
An aside: I'm a big fan of Odell Brewing's graphic design. I couldn't help notice the similarities to McMenamins, and wondered why those visuals haven't taken off more.