Empire IPA

Empire Brewing Co.
Syracuse, NY

No bottle photo here – I picked up a growler at my friendly neighborhood bottle shop, the new and awesome City Swiggers. Having a local  beer shop like this is something I’d only dreamed of while I schlepped to the Lower East Side or even the outer boroughs to find my specialty bottles. So, thanks to City Swiggers for, y’know, existing.

A crackling, orange-tinted head fluffs up, clinging to the sides of the glass. Almost perfect clarity shows sparse, slow carbonation. The color of burnt sand in the afternoon sun, this beer has an orange blush to it with a touch of dun.

The nose has sticky and resinous grapefruit and passion fruit notes, and a touch of mango. The mouthfeel is full, with that hop stickiness overwhelming the breath of creamy malt. Mostly under-ripe grapefruit dries out the middle of the tongue, while the softer tropical fruits spread out and back across the palate.

It’s certainly a hop-forward IPA for lupulin fanatics, but the finish is slightly more cloying – sticky, really – than expected. If the finish were a bit more sere, I’d rave about this one, but it just misses on the finish.

And in case you were wondering: yes, I did finish the whole growler after the Giants won the NFC Championship game.


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