Craft Beer: Big Boss Brewing, High Roller Ipa

Here is yet another IPA I am sampling from my pick-a-pack.  I swear the next time I do this I will do more in-detail homework and find the 6-pack prices.  Not knowing exactly is starting to bother me now.  When I go back I will try to find these last few and update the posts.  The pick-a-pack price was $2.49, so it would be near-average but on the higher end of that range.
What I have here is Big Boss Brewing’s High Roller India Pale Ale, brewed in Raleigh, NC.  at 6.5% ABV it has enough extra strength for me to warn any beer drinkers to be cautious.  a little extra %ABV doesn’t hurt if you only have one or two, but if you’re out with your friends for a long night, you might end up consuming a whole phantom-beer and not realize it.  Being a craft-beer lover, I’ve made this mistake a few times myself.  Fortunately the last few were when I lived three blocks from downtown and I could stumble back home.
The beer pours as a beautiful amber color, and without even leaning in I can smell the hops and the sweetness of the malt.  The head never got terribly high, and did not stay foamed up for very long.  I know some purists may say this is not the best sign, but I’ve found enough great beers that buck this rule to not be troubled by it personally.
From the smell, this beer seems a bit stronger on the sweet/malty side than the last few IPA’s I’ve had.  The smell’s sweetness reminds me of iced molasses cookies, with the hops floating in the background to give it a cool refreshing bite.
The flavor of the first sip is as beautiful as the glass of beer looks.  It’s equal parts bold and refreshing.  The flavor has tones of licorice and caramel in it.  I want to say the tastes in this beer are reversed from many of the IPA’s I’ve reviewed lately.  It starts off with a rich sweet old-timey flavor, and then finishes on an upswing of bright refreshing hops.  I really like this, as the brightness at the end seems to cleanse the pallet of the thick sweetness some beers have, leaving you ready for your next sip.
One thing I like about this beer is that the hops, while present, are not overpowering.  IPA’s remind me of the spicy salsas of the beer-world.  People who like salsa and eat it a lot tend to acclimate and want the hotter/spicier blends to get the same kick.  I think the same thing happens with IPAs.  Drinkers get used to the kick-in-the-face hops presence, and keep looking for more punch.  I’m not faulting this, I love spicy food and IPA’s, but it makes it confusing for people coming into the IPA world.  Their IPA drinking friends give them the “nuclear hot-wing” version of IPA, and their shocked and turned off to the brew because what they tried is so intense.  If I had to draw a direct parallel, this beer is the zesty “roasted corn salsa” of IPA’s.  It’s not too strong, yet it’s beautifully flavored.  It would make an excellent example of an incredible IPA to friends who are unfamiliar with this type of beer.
And just to be clear, while I say this is a great beer for an introduction to IPA’s, it will also be a refreshing and enjoyable IPA to committed IPA fans as well.

Filed under: Craft Beer, beer, Big Boss, brewing, craft beer, High Roller, India Pale Ale, IPA, reviews

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