Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bottled Michigan: Founder's Double Trouble Imperial IPA

It's March in Michigan, and as the more fortunate venture south to throw necklaces of cheap, plastic beads toward people as part of a primitive bartering system to see exposed breasts, the rest of Michigan eats their Pączki and begin to really, really hate winter. Cozy winters around the fireplace be damned; we want our birdsongs, buttercups, and baseball to start. So even as the local weatherman calls for one or two more lazy snowfalls, and ducks spitballs shot at him from the anchors, I eschew the browns and stouts that kept me warm during the winter and treat myself to a preview of summer.

The Founder's Double Trouble comes highly recommended across the beer loving community. As an Imperial IPA brewed with double the malt and double the hops of a traditional IPA, I was looking forward to an aggressive, citrus flavored beer that did not overpower me with the bitterness.

The beer poured a hazy amber color, which swiftly clarified, leaving a liquid the color of gold. Small bubbles drifted lazily from the bottom of the glass, taking their time, making little spirals on their way up as I gently swirled the contents. The head, surprisingly bright white for a Double IPA, dissipated quickly but left a thin sheen of white covering the top of the beer, which clung to the glass in imperfect lacing as I drank.

The smell! After months of feeling cooped up inside, drinking my Cabin Fever and other appropriately named beverages, the blast of citrus and pine did almost as much to clear away the malaise of winter as spring cleaning. Crisp and fresh and unapologetic, the Double Trouble's aroma is anything but mild.

The taste follows suit, although in a pleasant manner. To be honest, had this Double IPA followed its aroma with an equally aggressive taste, I would not have enjoyed it. Throwing ten tons of hops into a glass and mixing it with pine needles does not necessarily make a good beer. Thankfully, the taste is more mild than the smell insinuates, damping the grapefruit with sweet, sugary malt and the masking smoothness of alcohol. The beer is still aggressive, and at no point do you forget that you're drinking an Imperial IPA, but it's a pleasant aggressiveness that reminds you that the lawn hasn't been mowed yet, so get up and do your summer chores.

Although I could do without the creepy double sided face staring at me while I drink it, the Founder's Double Trouble provides everything I want in a summer beer – or, in this case, a welcome respite from the darker months. . . and the beers that populate them.

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