The warmer weather of late spring and early summer here in the Central U.S. that has me moving the stouts to the back of the beer fridge and reaching almost exclusively for IPAs also is known to spawn severe thunderstorms and tornados. COOP Ale Works from Oklahoma, a state synonymous with what is perhaps Mother Nature’s most awesome and frightening display of might, has named their IPA F5 after the most severe tornado classification. But don’t worry, the main damage done by sipping this fine IPA would be to taste buds craving a sweet beer.
Being a Midwest brewery, there is freedom to brew an East Coast style, English influenced, malt-heavy IPA or a West Coast style hop-centric one. The latter is my favorite, and the F5 is definitely that. The aroma that the off-white head releases from the golden-orange liquid is that of pine trees with slight notes of pineapple. The head quickly dissipates to a 1/8 inch layer that reappears with each tip of the glass allowing the aroma to remain throughout drinking.
The body seems slightly lighter than a lot of IPAs, making it easy-drinking. Just be careful, this tasty beer still comes in at 6.8%. The hop oils present in this claimed 100 IBU beer do result in a creaminess that is quite pleasant. The early flavors on the tip and front of the tongue tease a bit of malt sweetness reminiscent of tropical fruits, but this is quickly eclipsed by hop domination. Sides. Middle. Back. Hops. Hops. Hops. The hop flavor starts as a grassy dankness before a brighter, piney and citrusy flavor comes in near the finish. The piney bitterness takes quite a while to fade in what is a surprisingly long and lingering aftertaste.
The COOP Ale Works F5 is available in 4 packs of 16 oz cans. It’s a truly great hop-forward IPA. It’s a fine compliment to many foods, but it is also worthy of being appreciated alone for what it is. Sip it in relaxing silence, or pair it with the free light and sound show of an approaching thunderstorm. Drink it alone or share with a hop-loving friend. Just warn them that, like its namesake, this delicious IPA just might blow them away.
Bikepacker Friendly…tallboy cans 8/10
Style Appropriateness…near perfect West Coast IPA 9/10