Fire Island Beer Company
Saratoga Springs, NY
Red Wagon IPA
I got excited to have a sort-of-local brew, but realize that this beer is now brewed (or contract brewed) upstate. However, without the move from homebrew to brewery, I wouldn’t get to sample this. And I guess Saratoga is just as local as Fire Island.
The color is a very hazy and rusty roan with honey-amber accents. The clarity is very low – the muddiness of the color echoes in the opacity. A low, thin off-white head quickly runs its course, but settles into a nice later of ale film with a good promise of lacing.
The nose is a lovely tangy mix of hops and malt. There is the gamy smell of wet leaves or damp ground, but a sweetness carries over behind the slight sharpness of over-ripe oranges.
The mouthfeel is very full – excellent all around. There is an overwhelming smoothness that is followed by a crackle of effervescence before the considerable amount of flavor arrives. A very bitter, woody bite is the initial thing to hit the tongue. It is sere and tongue-smacking, but is accompanied by rich citrus and tobacco. Suddenly, as you think that a metallic finish is going to overwhelm the beer, honey-sweet cereal malt comes in for balance to ease up what initially feels like it’s going to be a severe alcohol wallop. I don’t know the ABV of this beer, but it is tempered nicely.
This is a rich beer, and one that I’d recommend for IPA nuts and even big beer fanatics. I’m not sure it gets official “Awesome” designation here, but it’s really close.