Glass rinsed. Cap pried. Expectations low.
A few Saturdays ago, my wife and I travelled to Brown County, Indiana so she could photograph a wedding and so I could drink some beer. Big Woods Brewing Company was one of the stops, and I was not too thrilled with my beer flight. So I grabbed a bomber of Hare Trigger IPA in an attempt at a second chance.
Bottle tipped. Beer poured.
This American-style IPA poured a beautiful deep copper color with a nice head into my tulip glass. Unfortunately that head hibernated quickly (get it? Because rabbits hibernate in the winter. Wait, do they?) Though the head retention was disappointing, the beer still left a beautifully woven lace around the walls of the glass. The hops were noticeable in the aroma, but they were pretty faint. Earthy tones mixed with slightly citrus whiffs caught my nose, but left it wanting more.
The taste was really hop-forward with a good caramelly sweet finish. The bittering hops were more forward than the aromatic ones probably due to earlier hop additions in the boil. There was a slight alcoholic warmth that was not overpowering and added some complexity to the beer, however there was also a slightly metallic bite that distracted from the balance. The hops were more earthy and forest-like than typical American-style IPAs, which made it easier to drink than some with more fruity and citrusy characteristics that leave your taste buds battered and wounded for the rest of the night. For this beer, though, it was probably intentional since their company standpoint is to brew beers that are easy to drink and widely accessible. This was probably a wise decision on their part since they are nestled in the heart of Brown County, Indiana, which is known for its Art Colony that attracts an older crowd that may not take onto radical or extremely innovative beers too fast.
Overall, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. I didn’t start off with high expectations since the other beers I sampled at their restaurant were nothing to write home about. I understand their standpoint of making easily accessible beers to target a wider audience, but I am a sucker for beers that make my palate go on an unprecedented exploration. They only bottle this IPA and their trademark Busted Knuckle Ale (which was a strange hybrid brown/pale/mild ale with little complexity). I recommend the Hare Trigger over any of their other beers any day.
If you’re in that area, I would just recommend going an extra 20 minutes towards Bloomington, IN to go to the Upland Brewing Taproom, or 20 minutes in the other direction towards Columbus, IN to try Powerhouse Brewing.
Beer consumed. Expectations exceeded.