Joseph Formanek's picture

Judge's Review: 89 Rating - Connecting Rod IPA by Garage Brewing Co.

April, 2021
Judges Rating: 
24 / 24
5 / 6
35 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Connecting Rod IPA by Garage Brewing Co. is a bit of a conundrum in regards to categorization. It is labeled as being an “Unfiltered” IPA, which implies that it is an unfiltered version of BJCP 21A American IPA. However, the alcohol content is on the bottom end of the Double IPA (Cat 22A) and the overall impression of the beer is more like a 21B Specialty IPA – New England IPA style. It is being judged as the latter. This one has aroma and flavor o’plenty but is missing some qualities that would allow for a better balance and drinkability. 

There is a huge burst of fresh green hop-like character that leaps out of the can the second that it is opened. Citra hops dominate, along with obvious floral and woody hop characters. This isn’t your typical all-dank hop fest, which is quite appreciated! The ferment seems quite clean with little in the way of esters noted, but they might be hiding behind the hops. There is a light malty sweet aroma is in the background. The beer pours very hazy light golden color with a fair, small-bubble white head with a moderate level of retention.

The flavor is very hop flavor forward, with Citra being the leader of the pack here and dominating the profile. The solid malt backbone behind this is light but detectable. The drink starts off quite sweet and retains this character over time. This is partly due to the fruity hop flavors, but also due to the hop bitterness, which is very low for style. Alcohol is evident, which also helps amp up the sweetness perception, which lingers throughout the drink. The body is medium, the carbonation is moderate, and the finish is rather sweet and comes off as being a bit harsh due to all of the late-addition hops used in the bill.  The overall fermentation character is very clean, as noted above, allowing the hop flavors to be very well expressed. 

This is overall a nice brew that could be well improved through having higher IBUs. This is a full-flavored brew that is quite the clinic on the use of flavor hops!