I have been trying to find a good time to get to today’s beer, but something else kept getting in the way. Whether I was looking for something other than an IPA or I was trying to accomplish something on Untappd, it was just never the right time. I finally decided to just go for it, telling myself I haven’t reviewed an Arizona beer for a while now and I like to stay as local as I can when possible. This is also only my third or fourth review of a beer from a can, and I have to say they are growing on me. Nothing really beats the feel of the glass bottle in my hand (or, subsequently, the feel of a glass tumbler), but I’m definitely starting to notice a difference in flavor and maybe even quality from the canned brews. I guess I can jump on this train, though it’s still blatantly obvious that the majority of beers are available in the brown bottles vs cans, it’s probably something that’s easier to get used to in small increments. As long as I can continue to recycle the receptacles, I have no problem with either for now.
Prescott’s Ponderosa IPA poured a golden amber color with bright ruby-orange highlights that formed just under the fluffy eggshell-white head. The liquid was mostly clear with a slight haziness in the middle – which I’m 90% positive isn’t chill haze, as I let the beer warm a little before I poured it and I’ve read multiple reviews saying they saw the same thing from cans, bottles, and on-tap. The foam was a good 3-4 fingers thick (maybe this “big head” phenomenon I’ve been experiencing is an IPA thing?) and held with excellent retention, lazily melting into thick, creamy snow pile islands of small and medium bubbles while leaving sheets of sticky lacing along the glass walls.
The aroma was reminiscent of walking through an orange grove full of fruit bursting with nectar, where the grass was just being trimmed down the paths between the trees. It carried a strong perfume of juicy oranges and tart tangerines – compiled from both the fruit and the rind – with just a tiny bit of lemon peel fluttering amid the light grassy notes underneath. There were some pale caramel malts lingering around the edges, transforming some of the whiffs of citrus into candied fruits. And right before the end, mild pine needles – spruce perhaps – were crushed and scattered through the fruits and sweetness of the nose.
The first few sips presented a light/thin mouthfeel – though it wasn’t watery by any means thanks to the sharp bitterness that snapped at my taste buds. It thickened to a more medium mouthfeel as it warmed and some of the simple flavors became more pronounced. Much of what was in the scent was also in the taste, offering a great amount of sweet orange and some grapefruity citrus hops that made the beer deliciously bitter. Some pine erupted in a giant wave near the end, washing up nicely after all the fruit, and left my tongue warm and tingling and my mouth clean and dry. The Ponderosa IPA was held together by light caramel and honey hints hidden in a malt backbone, but neither detracted from the very up-front IPA attitude. Initially the carbonation was prickly, and my only complaint is that over the course of a half hour, it went rather flat near the end. Fortunately, this one little issue did nothing to take away from the fact that this beer is really, really easy to drink. I really enjoyed all of the citric fruitiness without it being too sweet or orangey, and I’m really glad I was able to pick out the malts behind the ideal amount of bitter hops – they played well together and I look forward to picking up more from Prescott Brewing company.