Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pipeworks Brewing Company - Ninja vs. Unicorn

We don't get nearly enough beer from Chicago here in San Diego, which is a bummer because there are some amazing beers coming out of Chicago right now. So instead of trying these beers, I'm usually reduced to reading about them on blogs like the extremely entertaining Down The Hatch. I finally got my first taste of the Chicago craft scene a few days ago, when I tried a beer from one of the breweries at the forefront of the Chicago craft beer movement, Pipeworks Brewing Company. Again, a huge thanks to Tyler for giving me the chance to try this.

Pipeworks hasn't been around for long, but they've made a huge splash in their short existence. The names and labels they give their beers are as unique as the beers themselves. I mean, a Big Lebowski-themed White Russian beer called "Hey, Careful Man, There's a Beverage Here!"? Awesome. And we'll get to that beer at a later date. For now, let's take a look at one of their most renowned beers, Ninja vs. Unicorn. Before we get to the beer itself, I just want to commend whoever did this label. Making a unicorn look fierce cannot be easy. Well done!

Ninja vs. Unicorn is a Double IPA that clocks in at a modest (by today's DIPA standards) 8.5%. It pours a glowing orange color with just a touch of chill haze off the pour. A beautiful, creamy one finger cream-colored head shows good retention and leaves a nice sheet of lace with each sip. The smell isn't overpowering, but it yields some mango, peach and caramel with just a touch of pine in the background. Somewhere in the distance, I get the barest hint of grapefruit.

The taste opens with sweet citrusy hops and some smooth biscuity malt. Pink grapefruit, tangerine and peach flavors start things off, slowly turning to peppery pine and hop resin by the middle of the beer. The finish brings some cracked black pepper and some grapefruit pith without ever falling off into straight biting-into-an-aspirin-like bitterness. The malt in here balanced the flavors perfectly and it lends just a bit of caramel sweetness with goes great all the citrus flavors in here. The mouthfeel is lush and full without ever becoming too heavy and the prickly carbonation keeps the sweetness here from becoming cloying. I would love to have this beer on a regular basis. It's one of the most drinkable Double IPAs I've ever come across. Nice work, Chicago. Now get your beer to San Diego.

Final Grade: A

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 128

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