Hops & Grain Brewery is doing something very interesting with its IPA program,1 the Austin, Texas-based brewery changes its recipe every month. Spawned out of its Greenhouse program, which is their experimental beer line, the Greenhouse IPA changes the hops used in the dry-hopping process every month. They only produce 300 cases of each recipe a month, so it’s a frequently evolving, ever changing beer.

Hops Grain Greenhouse IPA Nov 2014 Can

The odd thing I found about the Greenhouse IPA is with every new recipe you’ll be experiencing a new flavor of the beer, and on the can it says to “consume fresh”—but nowhere on the can is a brewed date, canned date, release date or drink-by date.2 Since these cans were acquired by Tenemu very early in December, my assumption is that this is either October or November’s recipe.

Here’s what Hops & Grain had to say about those two month’s release:

October: “Green and oily, that’s how we prefer our hops. We took some super oily hop varieties very high in one of our favorite oils, Myrcene, and blended them together to deliver one of our most unique Greenhouse IPA’s yet.”
November: “Some days you just long for the scent of resin, juicy fruit gum and Douglas fur trees. Greenhouse IPA #11 is that experience. The dry-hopping began with Liberty and Meridian, two Oregon hops that deliver a wonderfully fruity bouquet and an incredibly juicy flavor. We then brought in some Nugget for all of its dankness and NZ Wakatu for earthy spice and citrus.”

Still guessing at which release I might be drinking,3 I pour the bright tangerine colored brew into my glass, which is quite clear and inviting looking. The little bit of head that does build up settles down quickly to a small ring around the edge of the glass. Bringing the glass to my nose I immediately get the aroma of bright, fruity hops, with some grassiness and a bit of bitter resin on the nose. With that olfactory information I’m going to go ahead and guess I’m drinking November’s release, but wanting to gather more clues first, I move onto the tasting.

Hops Grain Greenhouse IPA Nov 2014

Swirling my first sip around my mouth, the Greenhouse IPA is very bitter up front, with resin, hops and some orange peels. I’m usually prepared for the hoppy bitterness that comes along with IPAs, but this just seems to be a little excessive with each note having a specific bitter trait. On the finish there is a touch of sweetness along with a more generic fruity hoppiness and a lot of grass. There is a lot of carbonation, but it’s very smooth carbonation so it works without feeling over carbonated, while the mouthfeel is light without being watery.

Hops & Grain Greenhouse IPA (Nov. 2014)
BREWERY: Hops & Grain Brewery
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
STYLE: IPA
ABV: 7.7 percent
IBU: 55
PRICE: $1.50
RELEASE DATE: November 2014
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce cans
BEERS POURED: Two
With the aroma and the taste combined, I’m almost certain this was the November release. That’s a little disappointing, because the October release sounded like I would’ve enjoyed it much more. Like many IPAs, this might be more suited to a hot summer day, while I’m drenched in sweat and needing a bright, crisp beer. While I like the bitter hoppiness of an IPA, this one doesn’t have the balance against the bitterness that I would like to see. Every note had a bitter factor to it, there wasn’t much to counter that except the slightest bit of sweetness on the finish. It had some redeeming qualities, like a beautiful appearance, pretty solid mouthfeel and a decent aroma, but since the majority of the enjoyment comes from the actual taste of the beer I think this batch fell just a little short of what I would’ve preferred. Since the recipe changes all the time however, I am interested to keep an eye out for future batches of the Greenhouse IPA.
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