Sean Coughlin's picture

Judge's Review: 87 Rating - Yacht Rock by Southbound Brewing Co.

October, 2018
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
3 / 6
37 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Yacht Rock by Southbound Brewing Co. is a Brut IPA and is being evaluated under the Specialty IPA category (2015 BJCP Category 21B). Brut IPA is a relatively new style that began in San Francisco and is slowly emerging from breweries all over. It is meant to be a hop champagne of sorts. This style should be “brutally” dry, highly carbonated, featuring hop flavor and aroma without intense bitterness, and an extremely light malt profile. 

The aroma is all hops - bright fruit-forward notes of guava, mango, and freshly squeezed orange juice are front and center. While the hop aroma is fresh and inviting, it could be bigger for the style. The aroma is only capable of being enjoyed if you bury your nose in the glass and search for it. There is no malt character to speak of and an evidently clean fermentation profile. 

For a style that should be effervescent, this beer barely built a head even upon a remarkably hard pour.  The color is a medium straw with slight haze. The small white head that struggled to build is anemic and falls quickly. 

The flavor is a hop showcase – citrus, tropical fruits, and an underlying floral character harmonize well and create a blend of new world/Southern hemisphere hop character that an IPA connoisseur would revel in.  The bitterness is appropriately lower in the balance. There is a faint perception of bread-like malt flavor but there is no residual sweetness found. 

The mouthfeel is light and crisp with moderate carbonation. A higher level of carbonation would be welcome – but this is difficult to achieve when packaging cans. Draft or bottle conditioned Brut IPA is the best vehicle for enjoying this style and should be sought out. 

All in all, this is a good representation of the style. The dry finish and emphasis on hop aroma/flavor rather than bitterness have been achieved. This is a style that can be an IPA gateway for people that aren’t used to high levels of hop bitterness. A pale ale drinker can easily cross over to a beer like Yacht Rock. If you haven’t come across any Brut IPA examples out in the market, keep your eyes peeled – they aren’t going away anytime soon!