Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Napa Smith Organic IPA
A relatively new brewery from Napa (CA) established 2008 and only recently distributed here in Minnesota within the past month or so. Poured an appealing copper/amber colour. Unfortunately that was the highlight. Initial mouthfeel was a subdued hoppiness with a bitter astringent dry finish. Unpleasant. 7.1% ABV but I found little or no alcohol taste from this beer. Apparently they scored a coup by luring master brewer Don Barkley (one of the founders of Mendocino Brewing and with more than 30 years brewing experience) out of retirement, I'll let you be the judge if he made the right decision! One of the big emphasis the brewery has is pairing their beer with food - "our organic IPA pairs well with curry, buffalo wings and aged blue cheese" - no sh*t, doesn't any beer?! Anyway, almost as offputting as the beer is the packaging, which is amateurish looking, bland and contrived, like it would be more suited to the "value brands" shelf at your local supermarket. The beer itself is hardly value priced at around $8.50 for a 4 pack of 12oz bottles - way too steep when you can pay the same for Surly Furious or Bell's Two Hearted. Credit to them for having the courage to brew craft beer in the heart of wine country but unless the beer improves I can't imagine I'd be tempted to try another of their beers.