David Sapsis's picture

Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Flagship IPA by Steamworks Brewing Co.

June, 2018
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Flagship IPA by Steamworks Brewing Co. was judged as BJCP category 21A,  American IPA, served in a taper-shouldered pint glass at 47oF.

The beer shows off a deep golden/light amber color (~6 SRM), displaying a reasonably pronounced polyphenol haze that may or may not be directly attributable to dry hopping. The aggressive pour yields a thick and creamy head of mixed-size bubbles that persists for many minutes. Outgassing is medium.

The nose shows classic deference to the modern West Coast-style that has become popular worldwide: rich yet subdued caramel and biscuit malt tones overlain by bright fruity and sweet hop angles of orange, apricot, pineapple and melon. Overall the hop nose, while angular, is relatively reserved and sweet, lacking any big pine or otherwise dank notes – just bright fresh  stone and tropical fruits in an off-dry and pleasant package.

The flavor starts off very softly malty and creamy, trailing to a rather surprisingly reserved  bitterness; flavors of orange juice and apricot dominate early, with the caramel notes and more tropical guava/mango emerging more mid palate. The finish is off-dry and  quite clean and creamy with malt structure standing its own against the new world sweet and fruity hop oils. The body is medium, with appreciable texture and creaminess  due to what the foam stand shows to be a great mix of protein-polyphenols that present as creamy and lush. What is most remarkable is the low, lingering bitterness in the finish, which to me indicated the beer was likely brewed with soft water. 

Overall the beer is a refreshing and bright, albeit modestly-bittered,  West Coast IPA, with a great blend of hop/fruit character and a nod toward the juicy Northeast variant in some flavor angles but lacking the pronounced muddy coloring. The beer would do well with a wide range of food pairings, from antipasti of olives and cured meats to a big greasy hamburger. Salud!