This week I feature a couple brews from Music City - Nashville, Tennessee.
First up, a brewery I have been dying to try...Bearded Iris.
Bearded Iris hasn’t been around long. The Nashville brewery opened up less than two years ago (February 6th, 2016) and specializes in hazy IPAs and DIPAs. In fact, every beer they make with the exception of one (a dry-hopped kölsch) is either a pale ale, IPA, or double. It’s my kind of brewery.
They usually have eight beers on tap along with a handful of cans to go. I don’t believe they distribute outside of the city though…at least not yet. When my friend was visiting the brewery, she grabbed me a four-pack of a few of their brews.
Today, I have their Tunnel Vision, an IPA brewed with Mosaic hops and El Dorado oil and then, for this special batch, it was double dry-hopped with Citra hops for even more flavor. A four-pack of cans costs $16 with each one containing a solid 6.8% ABV.
When I poured Tunnel Vision an intensely cloudy, bright straw-colored beer flowed from the can. As it sat, the color seemed to change slightly to a muddy orange color. There was very minimal head, just a razor thin line of pure white bubbles sat atop the beer.
There was a beautiful aroma emitted from the brew; bold notes of orange, tangerine, melon, and lemon with hints of grapefruit, passion fruit, and pale malt. I couldn’t wait to dive in to this beer.
My first sip started with just a hint of carbonation that quickly gave way to the huge flavors this juicy hop-bomb had packed inside.
There was a lemony zest that started it all off before the orange and tangerine add a sweet, juicy aspect that followed through for most of the taste. Then there was a dash of honeydew melon to create a nice tropical flavor early on.
Towards the middle the hops make themselves know with a mild bitter bite that cuts into the otherwise juicy flavors and reminds you that you are, in fact, drinking beer and not some sort of juice cocktail.
The Citra hops also impart a semi-dankness to the beer that, as the flavors come to a close, mixes with another, smaller, pop of tropical fruit flavors. This time it was the grapefruit and passion fruit (and more lemon) that showed up…but just for a moment.
Those dank and bitter notes finish off the sip and leave a lingering aftertaste of hops that sticks with you for a few minutes after each sip.
Overall, Tunnel Vision was a damn tasty brew. The lingering bitterness is the only drawback I can find from this beer. If you’re in or around Nashville this is a brewery to make sure you hit up.
From Bearded Iris, we travel just three miles south to get to our next brewery - Yazoo.
Yazoo, along with Bearded Iris, is one of Nashville’s most popular breweries. They have been brewing up greatness in Music City since 2003 and are well known for their Sue – a smoked Baltic porter – as well as their “Embrace the Funk” series.
When my friend headed down there for a bit, they snagged me one of their nine year-round brews: Hop Perfect, an IPA made with Citra and Mosaic hops.
The beer was initially called Hop Project but, once they found a combination they liked, it made it to their core line-up and renamed it Hop Perfect. A six-pack costs the average $10 and each bottle has a 5.5% ABV and roughly 75 IBU.
This IPA poured a cloudy orangish amber color with a massive amount of head billowing up. More than three full fingers of dense, off-white foam topped the beer and stayed there. The head slowly fizzled away but left huge sticky splotches all over the glass. Floating around inside the glass were millions of pieces of sediment (so be careful when pouring).
On the nose, there was some spice and floral notes that complimented a bouquet of citrus fruits. Grapefruit, orange, and lemon zest were the main offenders with the spice and earthy notes hiding just behind them. Between the huge levels of foam and the spicy yeasty quality, this IPA seemed like it was made using Brettanomyces although I couldn’t find anything saying what they used.
My first sip started, as expected, with a huge blast of carbonation that stung my tongue before the other flavors were able to make it through to my taste buds.
Once the flavors did kick in, it was those citrus notes that popped first. Grapefruit and lemon danced briefly on my palate before they were subdued, first by some earthy floral notes and then by a spicy pepper taste that took the sip to the finish.
There was a slight hop bite and a flash of pine on the back end. Hop Perfect then ended on a slightly dry note and with a lingering pepper bite.
As the beer was drained from my glass, it left a lacing that covered almost my entire chalice with sticky bubbles and a few super-defined lines that marked each of my swigs.
The 5.5% ABV was hidden well behind the flavors and the 75 IBU didn’t seem so bad between the flavors and the carbonated bite.
All in all, this was a solid IPA. There were a few drawbacks: the immense carbonation and the dryness that stuck with me between each taste. Hop Perfect might not be perfect…but it’s still pretty good.