Since Travel Well recently moved our home base to Hatteras Island, it’s only fitting that our first Beer of the Week feature is Islander IPA from Coronado Brewing Company. Named after Coronado Island, Islander IPA (ALC 7%, IBU 65) is a multi award-winning beer including the World Beer Cup 2014 Gold Award. As Coronado writes on its bottle, Islander is “sure to evoke imagery of swaying palms and sun-kissed shores.” I’m putting that to the test.
Pours a hazy gold with a finger-width foamy white head that quickly resides. Moderate amount of lacing. Very little action of carbonation present.
Greets me with a sharp pine scent springing my taste buds into action. Behind the sharp introduction I find a dank, weed-like earthiness and bitter citrus like that of grapefruit rind.
Medium-light bodied. The very light carbonation makes the body seem almost chewier than it really is. Leaves the palate very dry, prompting you to drink more.
No surprise to find a resin-like pine flavor upfront. Semi-sweet malt is short lived and quickly overpowered by the savory bitterness of the hops. This is definitely an IPA I would describe as “herbalicious.” Secondary flavors of grapefruit and very ripe mango exist in the shadows. Finishes with a lingering earthy bitterness and mild alcohol warmth.
Islander IPA is a little unbalanced, and I didn’t experience palms and sun-kissed shores. Possibly due to the Chinook hops, bitterness seems to take center stage and muzzles some of the other hop characteristics I enjoy in an IPA. And although it’s not as memorable as other West Coast IPAs I’ve had, it does have some unique qualities that make it worth a try. It’s highly drinkable, enjoyably herbaceous and heavily aromatic, so Coronado’s Islander is one IPA hop heads wouldn’t find too much to nitpick about.