Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Old Dirt Hill

First off, an apology to any Dave Matthews Band fans out there for using one of their worst songs off of their worst album for the title of this post. I know it sucks (although it has gotten better as it has evolved over the years) but it fit. DMB is from Charlottesville, Starr Hill was founded in Charlottesville (but has since moved to Crozet). Utterly cheesy I know, but you get the picture.

Anyway, I had been hearing good things about the Starr Hill Brewery for some time now, but despite the fact that the Virginia state border is only a three hour or so drive from my house (i.e. it's pretty damn close to New Jersey in the grand scheme of things), none of it's breweries distribute here. Needless to say, I was stoked when I came into possession of a six pack of their Northern Lights IPA, which was supposedly one of the highlights of their arsenal of beer. I'm happy to say it's pretty damn good stuff indeed.

For whatever reason, I tend to gloss over the appearance of most beers, but just can't do that here with Northern Lights. It looks friggin' fantastic, pouring an awesome hazy orange/copper color with a huge, pillowy head that has great retention to it. Once it settles in a nice, web-like residue pattern is left on the glass. This is just great looking stuff.

The flavor and aroma dial it back a notch from awesomeness of the appearance but are both still quite solid. Hops take the citrus route with more subtle grass and pepper notes coming into play as well, and a nice earthy maltiness balances things out yet still lets the hops lead the way. There's a bitter, biting pop from the hops throughout along with a toasted bread vibe at the end of each sip.

While this one is available year round and I could certainly drink it year round, there's just something about it that screams "Summer IPA" to me. I guess maybe it's that lighter, non-extreme feel that it's got to it, but this one would be perfect to knock back on the porch at the end of a hot summer day.

A relatively tame, more traditional IPA? Sure, but it's a solid one, and it's got me itching to try some more Starr Hill stuff, so a job well done.

beer, Hopback, Starr Hill, Charlottesville, Virginia, Northern Lights, IPA, India Pale Ale