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Belt’s Beer Garden: #499

Adroit Theory’s Colonization: Ghost 779

Because I have a special treat for you all this Friday, I am releasing the 499th beer review a few days early. Beer #499 comes from a state that has yet to appear on BBG - Virginia - making Old Dominion the 45th state to be featured here (only Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and West Virginia left to go!).

Despite having a thriving craft beer community, I realized that I have been lacking on drinking beer from Virginia.

Virginia ranks twelfth in the country with 236 craft breweries and 18th in breweries per capita (3.7), and yet, somehow, I have only had TWO beers from the state of Virginia (not including a few Stone beers that were brewed at their Virginia locale)!!

So, when I found a beer from Adroit Theory, one of Virginia’s most sought-after breweries, I immediately bought it.

Adroit Theory was founded in November of 2011 in Purcellville, Virginia – a small town of about 8,000 near the near the Maryland-Virginia border. The brewery makes “esoteric beers with an emphasis on barrel aging” and typically has over 20 beers available for consumption and/or take-away purchases at their brewery. That’s a lot of options!

Despite the fact that they only have a local distribution, making them insanely hard to find outside of the area, I was able to secure a single can of their Colonization (Ghost 779).

This a hazy imperial IPA was brewed with Citra, Idaho 7, and Mosaic hops. The beer clocks in with a very solid 8.3% ABV and just 35 IBU. The single 16-ounce can cost me $8.

Colonization poured slightly cloudy and was a lighter golden straw color. About half an inch worth of bright white head built up. The bubbles quickly fizzled away into a razor thin dusting across the top with some spotty lacing around the sides of the glass.

This beer featured an awesome aroma of dank hops and tropical fruits. Orange and grapefruit peel lead the way with hints of melon, lemon, passion fruit, and even some sugary bubblegum hiding underneath. The malt profile added some additional sweetness with notes of oats and some breadiness.

A solid buzz of carbonation starts off the sip before the flavors are allowed to appear. And, leading the way, is that orange and grapefruit rind flavor that is coupled with a heavy twinge of hoppy bitterness.

The melon and passion fruit attempt to cut into the citrus rind with some juicy notes but are quickly met, and overpowered, by some acidic pineapple and tart lemon flavors midway through it all. During this time, the malts also kick in with some biscuity undertones and a hint of caramel but come nowhere near the stronger hop flavor profile that controls the taste from the first moments of the sip.

I was slightly disappointed that the very prolific pink bubblegum aspect in the aroma never showed up in the taste of the beer and, in fact, seemed to disappear completely from the aroma as the beer was half gone. I thought that sugary-sweet flavor would have really complimented the brew’s other flavors. Oh well.

Then, when the flavors end, the hops remain. The finish is dry and features a sticky, resinous feeling that leaves the citrus peel bitterness clinging to my tongue well after the other flavors have vanished.

Over time the hop bite seems to lessen and, by the last third of the beer, it’s actually more bark than bite – making the beer grow on me the further down I drink.

That 8.3% ABV is hardly ever noticeable…until the end when you realize you might be slightly buzzed from just one pint. But, for as much as the booze sneaks up on you, those 35 IBU sure hit hard for most of the can. I would’ve guessed the beer was closer to 75-80 IBU rather than the 35 they list.

All-in-all Colonization was a pretty good imperial IPA that slowly grows on you the more you drink. It wasn’t as hazy/juicy as I was expecting it to be from the amazing aroma and ended up tasting more like a West Coast IPA more than anything.

But, despite the bold hop profile, it still had a lot of good tropical flavors and that hoppy sting seemed to mellow out with each additional sip.

*Canned on 9/25/19, reviewed on 10/28/19*

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