Today I have a double dose of double IPAs from Melvin Brewing.
I first heard of Melvin Brewing back in 2016 when my friend and I made the trek out to Laramie, Wyoming for the NIU-Wyoming game. I only had one of their beers, their Melvin IPA…and it was amazing. Back then, however, you couldn’t get their beer near me at all and I didn’t have the time to raid a local liquor store so I didn’t know if I’d ever get to try Melvin beers again.
Luckily for me, they just introduced themselves into the Chicago market so, naturally, I had to pick some up. Today you can find them in 10+ states (CA, CO, ID, IL, MA, NY, OR, UT, WA, and WY) with new markets popping up all the time.
Melvin started in 2009 in the back of a Thai restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming. Very soon after they were popular enough to expand; building a huge new facility in Alpine, Wyoming (about 45 minutes away, right near the Idaho border) and now have four locations – the original two in Wyoming and then two more in Washington).
It’s not just Wyomingites that like Melvin though…they have won a plethora of medals at the Great American Beer Fest and other beer awards. Since 2012, they have SIX gold medals at the GABF to go along with their 17 other gold medals from other beer competitions!! That’s means they’re averaging nearly THREE GOLD MEDALS PER YEAR!! Wow.
Now I really can’t wait to try these brews.
Firstly, today I have one of their RIIPA brews (which stands for Rotational Imperial IPA series), Citradamus.
Citradamus was brewed with, you guessed it, Citra hops and packs a punch! Each of the cans has a huge 9.5% ABV and 88 IBU. A four-pack of cans does run a little bit higher, at $14, but, with such a high alcohol content, each beer is really like 2+ beers…so it’s really like a 9-pack for $14.
It poured a dark coppery orange color with some solid head protecting the beer below. Two full fingers of thick tan bubbles slowly faded down into a ring around the edge, lacing the glass nicely as it receded.
The nose featured a mixture of hoppy flavors. There was a surge of citrus fruit scents, like that of grapefruit and orange, a ping of piney hops, and some unexpected caramel malt sweetness.
My first swig started with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel and very little carbonation. The brew was surprisingly thick and seemed to expand as it kept going.
Initially it began with some strong bitter citrus rind flavors – grapefruit, orange, and tangerine mostly. But, very soon after that, the 9.5% alcohol reared its head and gave off a shockingly boozy burn on the back of my throat – a harsh reminder of just how high this beers’ ABV is – and a piney bitter bite showed up too.
The malts tried to quell this alcoholic uprising with some sweet bready and caramel flavors but, overall, it didn’t do too much. Instead, the hops soon made a comeback with a bloom of more citrus across my taste buds; this time featuring much sweeter, lighter notes of orange and lemon.
In a weird but pleasant twist, as Citradamus warmed up the harshness seemed to actually fade away. And, towards the end of the beer, the alcohol burn and strong hoppy bite had faded into a much more palatable flavor of citrus and pine.
From start to finish Citradamus grew on me more and more with each sip. After the first sip I was nervous about the alcoholic sting and strong hoppy bite it had…but by the time I took my last gulp it had mellowed out a lot and I had really grown to like this DIPA.
If it’s in your area, which it might be soon, it’s certainly worth a try.
Up next, I try their staple DIPA – 2x4 – which has won more awards than they probably know what to do with.
This DIPA clocks in even higher than Citradamus with a whopping 9.9% ABV(!!) and roughly 98 IBU. It’s made with Centennial, Citra, Columbus, and Simcoe hops and is also sold in four-packs of cans that cost $14.
2x4 was much lighter than Citradamus. It poured a much brighter orange, somewhat coppery, color with just over a finger of sticky eggshell white head sitting atop the beer. The bubbles quickly disappeared into a mere dusting but laced the glass nicely on their way out.
This DIPA had a very similar aroma – super hoppy citrus with some pine and an alcohol scent that stung my nose – but seemed to be much less harsh than the previous brew.
There was a light carbonation fizz that started off the sip before the flavors started to appear.
Through a slightly bitter twinge, soft notes of citrus fruits crept forward. There were the usual suspects – grapefruit, lemon, and mango – but there was also some pineapple, melon, and lime that showed up.
I couldn’t believe how easy to drink this beer was. Despite being even higher in ABV than Citradamus it drank incredibly easy! There was a flash of alcohol up front, right as the flavors showed up, but the citrus washed it all away.
As the sip continued, the flavors were all hoppy citrus with very little else. It was a nice blend of all those tropical fruits listed above and shockingly little hop burn…which is especially impressive since there’s nearly 100 IBU packed in these 12 ounces.
2x4 ended insanely clean for what it is. There was no lingering bitterness or alcohol burn…just a slightly sticky feeling that vanished after a few moments. I can see why this beer won virtually every award ever for a DIPA.
Luckily for me, I have three more of these guys in my fridge…check this one out if it’s available near you.