Big Timber Brewing Company is nestled in downtown Elkins, West Virginia, a small city of about 7,000 in the central/eastern part of the state, and has been making beers since 2014. They currently offer six year-round beers and rotate through six seasonal releases as well.
During my stay in West Virginia, I found a can of their hoppy staple - Big Timber’s IPA, one of just two beers to be canned by the brewery (the other being their Porter). The 16-ounce can features a 6.5% ABV and is said to be “Familiar. Fresh. Piney”.
This IPA poured a bright copper color and was slightly opaque and cloudy. About two fingers of eggshell white head built up atop the brew and slowly fizzled away. As the foam dissipated, it left a thick lacing around the entire glass before settling down into a thin ring of bubbles around the edge.
On the nose there was a nice blend of hops. There were some earthy notes, mostly of pine and fresh cut grass, but there were also citrusy notes of lemon zest, grapefruit, and orange peel. It was a nice balance of all the flavors hops can provide in a west coast style IPA. Behind the hops, a malt backing gave off a biscuity/bready aroma that worked to balance out the beer with some light sweetness.
Each sip starts with a small but furious rush of carbonation that shocks the tongue initially before allowing the flavors to start crawling across the palate. When that carbonated rush reaches the back of my throat, it stops and settles down at the very back of my tongue with a hoppy bitter twinge.
The hops shine through in the flavor with big notes of pine and other earthy notes. Some light nuttiness and a grassy characteristic with a sticky resinous feeling back up the pine and slowly fade away.
Midway through there is a brief...very brief...spike of citrus. It mostly comes from a combination of lemon and grapefruit rind flavors with just a dash of juicy orange/tangerine that washes over the hoppy pine.
After just one second of citrus (maybe even less than a second), the pine returns with a vengeance and brings another bite of bitterness before everything begins to fade away.
The brew ends mostly clean, with just a dash of dryness and a minimal earthy aftertaste that linger for a moment or two before vanishing.
This is your classic IPA. Bitter. Pine. Light Citrus. No gimmicks, no lactose, no double dry-hopping. Just hops. It reminded me of my first days drinking craft beer. All hops, no gimmicks.
It’s nice to go back and have a few of these but, at the same time, this IPA doesn’t have anything to make it really stand out. It’s a good, hoppy IPA but just doesn’t set itself apart from the other IPAs.