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Top 100 Beers of 2018

Top 100 Beers of 2018

 

 

#14

96
by Sal Mortillaro II
Tunnel Vision DDH w/Citra
Bearded Iris Brewing

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Head Brewer Brandon Tarr Talks DDH Tunnel Vision with Citra

Who was responsible for this beer’s recipe?
There is a collaborative effort among our small team of brewers to create new recipes, and Tunnel Vision DDH w/ Citra has been honed through many batches of different IPAs and DIPAs we have brewed.

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
Relative to more traditional IPAs, Hazy IPAs tend to be made up of more intense elements. These components can make it easy to misstep and make a beer that tastes overly intense. Tunnel Vision strikes a balance between its hop saturation and drinkability without sacrificing either one.

What makes this beer truly world class?
We are always aiming to make beers that both our customers and team are fond of. With Tunnel Vision, I think a lot of things come together to make a beer that I would happily drink more than one of, and it is great to see it reviewed so highly.

What is your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, etc.)?
With any beer it is the combination of all its aspects, which make it what it is. Any one element of a beer out of place can throw off the experience of the rest. In the case of this beer, it has a saturation of hop flavor that rivals a DIPA in a 6.8 percent package. The sheer volume of essential oils from the hops cause the beer to taste more like orange-grapefruit juice than beer. Left alone this would make it too fruity but the underlying bitterness helps to anchor this as a beer in the finish and prepare you for another sip. In a beer style that can easily go too far in any one direction this beer nails the balance of all its parts.

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
Tunnel Vision is a go-to for our regulars and team. They may start with whatever new beer we have just released but they often finish with a Homestyle or a Tunnel Vision DDH w/ Citra.

Where does this beer’s name come from?
The vast majority of our beer names come from different cultivars of irises. There’s an incredible amount of beautiful iris varieties, each with a unique name to choose from.

Is this your desert island beer?
While Tunnel Vision DDH w/ Citra has been my go-to beer at the brewery, for a more desert island-appropriate beer, see my next answer.

What’s a good food pairing for this beer?
For a good “food pairing” pour a half-full glass of orange juice then fill the cup with Tunnel Vision DDH w/ Citra. It makes a killer Beermosa that’s very, very refreshing.


Judge’s Second Opinion

I have to admit, a few years ago I was not a fan of Hazy IPAs. Sure, the beers are unique, tasty, silky, soft, and tropical but they go against everything us long-time beer drinkers and style purists have known an IPA to be over the last several decades. The hallmark of the IPA *is* bitterness! Hell, it even goes against some of the hallmarks of brewing that have been ingrained the last several centuries! Not long ago hallmarks of good brewing were clarity, balance and shelf life. The Hazy IPAs have laughed at these notions and blazed their own path.

It’s been an interesting thing to watch Hazy IPAs grow exponentially faster than any other style I can recall in almost 20 years of paying close attention to the craft beer scene. It seems every brewery has a Hazy IPA now and some have built their breweries on an almost exclusive lineup of Hazy IPAs.

I have become a changed Beer Judge. My thoughts have changed from a style I believed was a fad to a style I believe is here to stay. These beers are quiteunique and showcase the power of and flavor profiles of hops. They have become an easily enjoyable and tasty introduction to craft beer; when I started dating my girlfriend almost two years ago, I introduced her to a local Hazy IPA which weened her off of a very well-known American Light Lager and helped to expand her willingness to explore craft beer almost overnight.

I had the chance to revisit a can of Bearded Iris’s Tunnel Vision DDH with Citra that had a little bit more age on it and found some of the original harsh notes to have toned down over time (as I suspected they would in the original review). To me, this beer is an excellent example of what this style embodies, which is an easy-drinking, approachable, flavorful, juicy, soft, and never boring beer.

It has been exciting to watch brewers manipulate the ingredients of beer (water, grain, yeast, and hops) to create a style that has undoubtedly become one that will be remembered throughout history. – Sal Mortillaro II


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