Look, sorry to get you excited, but I'm not going to rant about "white IPA." Or black IPA, or strong IPA, or session IPA, or double/triple IPA, or even this insane "zero-hop IPA" that BrewDog and Flying Dog are doing. It's coming, believe it, but not today. Today I just finished my taxes and it's gorgeous outside, so I'm having a beer.
Two beers, actually, both white IPAs, this inevitable verbal reaction to the ill-advised "Black IPA" that has been buzzing about recently, which are apparently a cross of an IPA with a traditional witbier with cloudy wheat proteins, orange peel, and coriander. The question is: will it float your boat?
The first is Saranac White IPA, and it looks like a witbier...only it somehow looks bigger, more solid. I get that effect from the hulkingly lovable Unibroue Don de Dieu, too, so maybe there's something to it. There are also some definite floaters in here, though the beer's quite fresh. The nose? Well, Cathy says "IPA! I get floral hops." But I get orange over top first, and then drill down to the hops. Better taste. That's an interesting blend of hops bitterness, juicy refreshing wheat zing, and the pinch of coriander at the back, and it's all working pretty well for me...until the finish, where the coriander and the hops conspire to really clamp down, though the more I drink of it, the more I grow accustomed to that crush. Over all, quite refreshing, and calling for grilled chicken in a spicy marinade.
The other is Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA, and it's a polar shift. Much less cloudy, light and airy-looking, and much more wit-like in aroma; weird that the west coaster is less IPA-like, eh? Smells almost classically like a Belgian white: orange lacing (from the peel and the Citra hops?) around fresh coriander, with hints of grassy/piney hops in the back. Very refreshing as the spice and light malt whirl about in the mouth, the orange lofting high on the palate, and finally coming to a finish where the hops do finally make a restrained full entrance. Quite the different execution, deftly delicate, and one that puts me in mind of a hot, dry afternoon in a hillside forest; pulling a sixer of this out of a cold stream would be a great interlude on such a day.