TAR (2802) - Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA - DEC 6, 2004
Draft: Rich copper. Fine-bubbled head throws spotty patches on the glass. Spruce, sweet graham and honey-drenched orange pulp aroma. Caramel, resin, nut, and spruce undertones. Soft body with a creamy, but lightly prickly, texture. Struts its balance right away with a sturdily structured toasted malt flavor and a bright, quenching note of acidity. Richly nutty with a progressive toasted malt envelopment in the center which slowly gives way to a delicate, well-rounded mandarin orange push. Slightly discernable floral and honeysuckle hints. Extremely vibrant hop character. Citrus pungency begins to turn mushy and loses definition, but is quickly salvaged by staunch piney bitterness and a sweet graham and caramel thud. Herbal hop coarseness lends itself as it warms. Very polished with a drying spruce effect coupled with minty alcohol. Relentless glazed malt wall caresses the understated bitterness and explosively juicy, spicy hop-accented finish. Tasty pine and citrus hop burps. This is pretty much your classic IPA (toasty and citrusy), but you can hardly fault them for that. It’s boastful in both the malt and hop department. Good stuff.