28.1.09

Beer Reviews - Odell Brewing

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.

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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.

4 comments:

  1. Come on up to Bellingham, WA one of these days. 5 hours north gives you Boundary Bay Brewery and Chuckanut Brewery in town; North Fork Brewery outside of town. Lots of yummy goodness. (You'll have to visit... afaik, none of these have retail bottled distribution.)

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  2. For some reason, Odell doesn't distribute in Tucson, which is unfortunate. However, as you mention, we have the Nimbus IPA, which will suffice.

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  3. I have an odd relationship with IPA's, especially more citrusy ones. I love the first one, maybe two, but then I have a sour aftertaste that doesn't go away. I wonder if has to do with food pairing or temperature. I prefer them really cold, but I'm not even sure it that's the "proper" way to drink them.

    Of course, I can't drink beer at all right now because I'm on pain-killers because my back is completely jacked. The fact that I can't (or, rather, shouldn't) have both is a direct result of The Fall, if you ask me.

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  4. Man, I just have not been able to develop a taste for IPAs at all. The bitterness and floral thing is what throws me off. It takes like I'm drinking some household cleaner or something.

    I definitely lean more toward the malty stuff, unfiltered wheat beers and such.

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