John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski, co-founders of Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, Ga., introduced their first beer, Rye Pale Ale in 2002. It only took six months for that brew to win The American Pale Ale gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival that same year.
As time has moved forward, John and Spike are enjoying their 40,000-square-foot brewing facility, 100 bbl brewhouse and relatively new canning line to produce unique variations on basic beer styles.
Year-round options like Liquid Bliss, Hi-5 IPA, Hopsecutioner and others continue to please, and other ventures including Seasonals, Monster Beer Tour, Side Projects and Special Releases have proven to be over the top and different than any other offerings on the market. To take it a step further, collaborations have been brewed with Green Flash (Tangerine Dreamsicle), Cigar City (Vapricot), New Belgium (Black Is The New Wit) and several others to produce limited, one of a kind beers.
The beer that I have in my hand today is from the Special Release category: So Fresh & So Green, Green IPA, brewed with freshly picked, whole leaf, “wet hops” from the fall 2015 Equinox hop harvest.
According to Terrapin’s website, “So Fresh & So Green, Green is a farm-to-glass beer that celebrates everything about the hop from its amazing flavor profile to its greatest fans out there sharing this beer with friends”
Poured from a visually appealing 19.2-ounce “mega-can,” the golden-amber color shines as the finger and a half of slightly off-white head builds, leaving a spotty lacing that definitely was not as much as I would have expected or desired.
I thought the Holidays were over, but obviously they weren’t, as I caught my first whiff of a freshly cut pine Christmas tree emanating from the newly poured beer. Lots of awesome nose candy followed with doses of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, freshly picked peaches, brown sugar and hard candy; wow, there is a lot going on right now.
First taste unleashes flavors of heavy pine sap, lightly bitter citrusy hops, green apple, lemon, honey and stone fruits. Flavors diminish slightly around the half way point of consumption, leaving me wanting more and more.
This IPA has a great crispness with medium carbonation and a well-hidden ABV of 6.6 percent. Even as it warms slightly, the hop bitterness gives forth a bold statement, but not enough to take away from the nice balance and slick, coating mouthfeel of this beer.