Russian River Blind Pig IPA
Blind Pig IPA by Russian River Brewing Co.
Santa Rosa, CA (Sonoma County)
Ask for a “blind pig” in a saloon during prohibition and you might just get a beer…During prohibition, using the term “blind pig” discretely meant many different things. Sometimes it was the secret code given to a bartender to receive a beer. In other places, it meant that you paid a small fee to see a “blind pig” and along with the viewing you’d get a beer, or something else. And what type of glassware would your “blind pig” be served in? An unmarked mason jar of course. In those days, a mason jar was known as a pig, and an unmarked mason jar was known as a Blind Pig.
This beer pours golden yellow in color with a pearly white frothy head. The head retention in quite strong (I find this is common in IPAs or beers with lots of hops). It is also slightly opaque, but not hazy like a hefeweizen. The initial aroma was sulfury and musty but these volatiles quickly fade into a sweet malt aroma with low piney and moderately citrus hop aroma.
There is medium sweet malt flavor reminiscent of honey-like nutty malt but finishes with a moderate hop flavor and bittering that is not overpowering. This IPA is advertised as a “bold IPA packed full of hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness.” Definitely packed with hop flavor; the bitterness is quite moderate for an IPA and the hop aroma is lacking. Yet, this is probably because the Blind Pig was bottled on 12/15/08. I had bought this bottle from the Whole Foods in Cupertino, CA and it seemed to be the only batch they had. The BevMo! In San Diego also sell this Blind Pig with this date. What a shame. It’s important to note that you don’t age IPAs, you consume them as soon as you can or else you loose the hop quality. The hops definitely deteriorated in the aroma aspect, but I’m glad this IPA isn’t full of hop bitterness like some breweries assume the consumers want (maybe some people but I don’t think IPAs are all about bittering the shit some you ruin your palate). The hops flavor tastes of American citrusy varieties. The mouthfeel is balanced in carbonation with a smooth creamy head that finishes modestly dry. Russian River definitely knows what their doing with IPAs. I probably would have enjoyed this more if I had found a fresher bottle. In the end, I find this an excellent introduction beer for those that have never tried an IPA.
Category 14B: American IPA
* I go by BJCP judging standards. For more information, check out www.bjcp.org
Outstanding (45 – 50): World-class example of style
Excellent(38 – 44): Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning
Very Good(30 – 37): Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws
Good (21 – 29): Misses the mark on style and/or minor flaws
Fair (14 – 20): Off flavors, aromas or major style deficiencies
Problematic (0 – 13): Major off flavors and aromas dominate