Ever since I started drinking independent craft beers (about a decade ago now), White Rajah from The Brew Kettle has been sitting near the top of my “must try’’ list.
Over the years I’ve been able to cross off most of the other ones - Pliny the Younger, Maine Dinner, ect. - but White Rajah had always remained elusive. Until Now.
The Brew Kettle has been brewing up tasty suds in Ohio since 1995 and is one of the state’s oldest independent breweries still going. Over these past 28 years, they’ve expanded. They now have five different Ohio locations - Amherst, Canton, Hudson, Mentor, and Strongsville - and their main production plant moved a few miles north, from Strongsville to nearby Middleburg Heights.
And, at their core, is the White Rajah. This West Coast IPA has a 6.8% ABV, 70 IBU, and a price tag of $12 for a six-pack. It’s also won at GABF, has a score of 98 on Rate Beer and Craft Beer & Brewing, has a rating of 95 on BeerAdvocate, was the #1 IPA in a blind taste test by Paste Magazine (beating out 115 other IPAs), and was one of Mental Floss’s 50 Best Beers…so it has quite the history.
It poured a bright, slightly translucent, golden straw color with some minimal head. There was maybe a finger of pure white foam that built up and slowly dissipated, leaving a small accumulation around the edge of the glass.
The aroma of this West Coast IPA is intense. It’s packed with resinous and dank hoppy notes. Leading the way are some citrusy qualities (orange and grapefruit rind), a few tropical fruits (mango, guava, and pineapple), and a few earthier characteristics of pine and grass.
My first sip began with a flash of carbonation that fizzled on underneath for a few moments. The flavors started off soft and subtle before slowly crawling forward after a few seconds.
A blend of sweet, fruity flavors were the first to appear. Tangerine, guava, and pineapple led the way while that pithy grapefruit characteristic would peek out occasionally.
Midway through the hops added a slightly bitter twinge that amplified the grapefruit and pineapple flavors. Listed at 70 IBU, the bitterness doesn’t seem to be that high nor does it overpower the other flavors. White Rajah continued to be a crushable and flavorful IPA even with that hoppy bite.
Towards the back end there is a bit of pine and black pepper spice. Those flavors remain underneath the citrusy qualities but do make the beer a bit dry and stickier.
Lingering on at the end with that dryness are a bit of grapefruit and pineapple. However, that resinous feeling doesn’t last too long and the beer finishes mostly clean.
Overall, White Rajah is a fantastic classic IPA. It reminds me of the old-school IPAs that got me into craft brewing back in 2014. It’s hard to find great examples of those these days, as there are so many hazy and juicy IPAs dominating the market. But if you’re looking for a great West Coast IPA, this is one you need to try. Great stuff.