Joseph Formanek's picture

Judge's Review: 84 Rating - We're Gonna Need A Bigger Pontoon by Pontoon Brewing

September, 2021
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
33 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
15 / 20

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Pontoon by Pontoon Brewing definitely has the longest name of any beer that I have evaluated! This brew is being evaluated as a BJCP 21B Specialty IPA – New England IPA style, but it does have the strength of a Double IPA, as appears to be a trend in NEIPAs lately. Bigger Pontoon has a strong hop aroma as expected for the style, but there are some quibbles that impact the overall flavor balance and drinkability of the brew. 

There is a huge burst of general dank hop aroma (Simcoe, Citra) that is very evident the second that the can is opened. There are also tropical fruit notes coming through with sweet esters and an evident malty sweetness that is somewhat concerning but adds to the complexity. The aroma is very attractive – as is the appearance as per style. The beer pours as turbid as all get out, approaching the overall appearance of a pineapple juice, but has a solid white head that you can cut with a knife. Wow!

The flavor has quite a bit of hop character with moderate bitterness and an evident dank and tropical hop flavor as expected from the aroma. The sweetness noted in the aroma also comes through quite strongly in the flavor, which unfortunately tends to dominate the overall flavor profile. The brew seems rather under-attenuated, and this sweetness fights with the hop characters to make it somewhat unbalanced. The sweetness lingers into the finish and aftertaste, delivering a rather cloying character. Alcohol is also quite evident and warming, which also helps amp up the sweetness. The body is medium-full, and the carbonation is rather low. 

This brew is definitely on the sweeter side of the NE IPA style. Perhaps a higher level of carbonation would help somewhat reduce the sweet perception. Higher attenuation would also help.