When I first tried Thai food I was a one-star, fried rice with chicken kind of diner. But that’s a waste. Thai food is all about heat and perfect intermingling of both complementary and oftentimes dissimilar flavors. Seemingly opposite and contrasting flavors also create an overall pleasant overall taste in Upslope’s Thai Style White IPA.
Pouring the golden yellow beer I had expectations of an IPA with just a hint of peppery spices. However, sniffing the aromas expelled by the frothy, white head quickly convinced me that the IPAness was going to be muted and take a back seat to spice and banana and clove more typical of a hoppy farmhouse ale or Saison than a spiced IPA. The nose has to dig deep to find a hint of citrusy hoppiness in the aroma. Much more pronounced in the decadent bouquet are notes of banana, clove, basil and thyme.
The mouthfeel is medium-light. There is little carbonation burn, though the stalwart head and regenerative bubbles suggest a well-carbonated beer. The front of the tongue is instead nudged by a pepper spice with just a bit of orange zest. There is a fleeting piney hop bite on the middle and sides of the tongue before the full attention of the taste buds is overwhelmed by the more typical Belgian flavors of banana and heavy spicy notes of white pepper, clove, and coriander. The aftertaste does its best to desegregate the Belgian and IPA characteristics with a blending of yeast esters and a lingering, dry, piney hop aftertaste.
Thai Style White IPA would definitely pair well with Thai and other spicy foods but is a mighty fine and complex beer that can be enjoyed as a stand-alone treat for your mouth. The cans are portable and outdoors friendly. As personally tested, whether that outdoors is high above Creede, Colorado on a cool evening as the sun is setting or in the lower plateaus of the Ozarks on a warm summer night, the spices and Belgian characteristics can warm your soul and the citrusy and piney IPA influence can quench your thirst. This is definitely not a one-dimensional beer.
Outdoor Friendliness (standard 12 oz cans are good to go)…10/10
Aroma (pronounced and pleasant)…9/10
Flavor (diverse and complex)…8/10
Style-appropriateness (leans more towards typical flavors of a Saison or farmhouse than an IPA)…6/10
Alex writes a beer review every other Friday. Two weeks ago he reviewed Swami’s IPA from Southern California’s Pizza Port Brewing Company.