Russell Brewing Company Happy Little Brut – American IPA at 7% ABV | 45 IBU

Russell Brewing Company Happy Little Brut American IPA at 7% ABV | 45 IBU (C$4.12 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Sep-2018, acquired 15-Oct-2018, reviewed 16-Oct-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with two fat fingers of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus zest, pale grainy malt, light pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry short finish. (4/5)

Now that’s a good example of the sub-style. Bright, light, fruity and hoppy, without being overly thin, sweet, bitter, or astringent. The flavour profile and low bitterness are very reminiscent of a good NEIPA, but slightly less juice-like, with higher carbonation and a drier finish. I’d have to go back and do a proper analysis to verify this, but a cursory review of my notes tells me that not only is this among the best Russell’s ever done, it’s a culmination of a long, steady improvement. (The one exception being the high point blip that was their 19th Anniversary IP G’Day!) Sac-Trois yeast and Vic Secret hops are definitely part of the secret sauce here, and all to the good. I think Russell are really getting the hang of the dry-hopped hazy IPAs, and heartily approve. (Oh, and a warning, but definitely not a criticism: this thing drinks far too easily for 7%. There’s zero indication of its near-Imperial weight. “Happy”, absolutely, but “Little”, not even maybe. I advise treating it with respect, rather than crushing six on the patio in the recent autumn heat the way I’m tempted to.) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze

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