I can see a lot of hands out there – such is the wonder and the glory of the palate-wrecking Imperial India Pale Ale revolution in America, in which rogue brewers nationwide have aggressively worked to outdo each other in mouth-scraping, high-alcohol, hardcore-bitter hop monsters that will repulse 90% of the ale-drinking population. For those of us left standing, it has been one of the finest developments of the past six/seven years. There are aggressively-hopped west coast IPAs, “the San Diego Style”; “the Pliny clones”; aggressively-hopped east coast IPAs; aggressively-hopped Midwest IPAs and so on. The shades between them may be slight, but hop lovers know a masterpiece when they see one. I’m still partial to MOYLANS’ “Hopsickle” as top dog in this crowded field, but I’ll gladly drink at least 100 different pretenders to the throne, gladly and with extreme prejudice.
So here’s yet another big IPA from the excellent GREEN FLASH BREWING out of San Diego, a brewer with no need to prove their IPA bonfides, having done so with West Coast IPA, Le Freak and Imperial IPA, among others. This PALATE WRECKER – no need to beat around the bush – was brewed for Hamilton’s Tavern in San Diego before the people up-n-demanded that it become a full-time bottled thing, to be shared with the rest of the public. Ain’t people great? Palate Wrecker’s a 9.5% alcohol imperial IPA, to say the least. It pours a lush, deep orange with some foam that sticks around about as long as you’d want it to. Decidedly piney, but not one hint of citrus – no matter what the label says. It’s hoppy, oh yes, but Palate Wrecker is not a dry one – in fact to my pleasure it’s big, aggressive and definitely attacks with some alcohol burn on the finish, and yet it’s still quite easy to drink. Perhaps when all of your taste buds have been seared off and washed down your throat with the beer, there’s really nothing to complain about, am I right? 8/10.