I was recently given a few random beers from a friend of a friend who works at Shipyard Brewery. Apparently they conducted a bit of a private tasting on a weekend not too long ago and a variety of quality brews were enjoyed by all. A few of the leftovers were brought back to CT for me to enjoy.
One of the more interesting of the lot was a Virgin Islands Island Hoppin' IPA. Although it's touted as a local VI beer, they brew and bottle it in Maine at Shipyard for domestic sales. I'm not sure if they make any in the Virgin Islands, but it would be interesting to find out.
Beer: St John's Brewers Island Hoppin' IPA
Served: From pint glass
Location: At my house
Style: American IPA
The American IPA is a different soul from the reincarnated IPA style. More flavorful than the withering English IPA, color can range from very pale golden to reddish amber. Hops are typically American with a big herbal and / or citric character, bitterness is high as well. Moderate to medium bodied with a balancing malt backbone.
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 5.5-7.5%
(In this case 6.20% abv) On to the review...
1. Appearance - A rich copy color, quite an attractive glass of beer with only a slightest of haze. Nice foamy large bubbled head that settles nicely with some lacing.
2. Smell - More malty than expected, but hoppy citrus aroma caught on the end.
3. Taste - I like the flavor, probably an excellent beer to enjoy on tap while relaxing in the Virgin Islands, or even in Maine where this baby was actually brewed. With that said, the hop flavor is a bit understated. Leaning more toward the citrus side of the hop spectrum the sweet aspect melds into the beer's overall malty flavor. Carmel with a twist of tart citrus comes to mind. Dry finish. As the beer warms the hop flavor seems to come out of hiding, something to keep in mind. Tasty, but not what I tend to look for in a tongue-shwacking IPA. This is more of a mild (perhaps an entry level) IPA that wont scare off the newbie with the hop kick to the chops. Probably ideal for the Virgin Islands vacationer it was intended for.
4. Mouthfeel - A well carbonated medium bodied beer.
5. Drinkability - This one goes down easily, I could see it doing even more so at a beach side bar with the island music playing in the background. Not so bad here in it's birthplace of New England either. But not an over the top IPA some may be looking for.
Drinkability Scale from 1-10: I give it a solid 9, could almost be a substantial session brew with a slight kick.