Monday, August 15, 2011

BLUE HERON BREWING - "CASCABEL IPA"

We were taking the low road from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Taos, New Mexico on a family vacation a few weeks back, and I got to thinking about how righteously awesome it would be to stumble upon a small brewer I'd never heard of who made a killer IPA and who actually bottled it and sold some on the premises so I could bring some home. Lo and behold, we're driving near the banks of the Rio Grande on Highway 68, round about Embudo way, and what should I see but the shingle - and it really was a shingle - for an exceptionally small brewery called BLUE HERON BREWING. Naturally, Beer Samizdat had to check it out.

Blue Heron were actually conducting a tasting at that very moment, as it appears they often do in their tasting room. It was very winery-like - I just bellied up to the bar, talked to brewmaster Scott about his operations & whatnot for a few minutes, and though I excitedly wanted to try a flight of everything and then some - merely calling it "homey" doesn't do this place justice - I was our car's driver and had to settle for a few gulps of their CASCABEL IPA. That was more than enough to get me pulling out my wallet for a 22-ounce bottle for it and their Scotch Ale besides - we'll let ya know when we've ingested that one. It was a real fortuitous find, as it turned out, because this Cascabel IPA's pretty goshdarned fine.

Super-assertive hops, with an orange color and aroma that suggests "west coast IPA" all the way. Do I perchance taste the southwestern stepbrother to Russian River Blind Pig? Bitter and piney, but with great citrus balance. Not "juicy" however; if anything this tastes like what we commonly refer to as a quote-unquote Double IPA. A big, bold and bitter IPA - right from deepest New Mexico. I'm going to try and learn more about these folks and maybe even see if we can get them on the horn for an interview. 7.5/10.

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