I finally had the opportunity to give the beer I’ve been storing away for months a try and, let me tell you, I regret not tasting it sooner! I was surprised by the flavor presented in this beer brewed with honey, peaches, and cites hops. I the beer is called Arowana by Pipeworks Brewing Co. and has an ABV of 9.5% – yet it did not taste how I was anticipating. I expected a very strong alcohol presence, and very fruity flavor that may have been bordered on overkill, and something exceptionally hoppy. This beer was none of those things! Not that any of the anticipated features would have been a disappointment, but I always love a tasty, flavor-full surprise.
Once poured, I gave this Imperial IPA the smell test: the presence of hops was significant in this initial observation, so this further led me to believe the beer would be significantly bitter. The color was a hazy orange with a hint of yellow. The head retention was good – it stayed present for several minutes after pouring, but was only approximately a quarter inch high.
Upon tasting, I realized how significantly that smell led me astray. The beer was extremely mild and drinkable. It almost taste more like an APA than an IPA. The honey perfectly mellowed out the hops and the hint of sourness I expected from the peaches. If I was trying to ease someone into the wonderful world of hops, this would be one of my choices. Almost all of the beer’s flavor existed at the beginning of the sip but disappeared as it moved towards the back of the tongue. While I always enjoy a delicious aftertaste, I was pleased to notice this beer did not have one – another reason this beer may be a good introduction to hops for those nervous about bitterness. No one flavor stole the attention and the peach and honey complemented each other well. At times, I felt like I even noticed a hint of vanilla – but then it disappeared.
I enjoyed this beer very much. I say this a lot, but it is something I could really enjoy while sitting poolside or on a patio during a hot, summer day. Last night was the only time I was thankful for the squelching St. Louis heat that still exists even into October. I do not think I would have enjoyed this IPA as much during the cold months – it lacked an aspect of comfort that I desire on a bitter day. My only disappointment is that I did not purchase a second bomber when I had the opportunity. Pipeworks is a Chicago-based brewery and while I have definitely gotten access to some of their brews down South, my suburban Chicago Trader Joe’s has the best selection I have seen so far.