Hill Farmstead Ephraim, 10.5% abv, Imperial IPA
A: This beer exudes an amazing golden profile straight out of the bottle. I don’t want to reach for an Alad- ok it feels like a hop genie. The pour reveals a petulant ghost that traveled 3000 miles to meet my mouth and isn’t too disturbed by the prospect. Nice lacing, the glass looks as baroque as the day will allow with marshmellow foam everywhere. The rim feels like a late 90s rave/foam party. You know the drill.
S: This must feel what old Sutter felt like when he discovered gold at his mill, except replace gold with amazing hop assault to my dome piece. It initially hissed when I opened the growler and a hop cloud literally escaped like Patrick Swayze and nestled an herbal dissonance on my couch. Ok, not literally. But it smelled a lot like husking limes, apricots, tangerines, and lemons: WHICH I DO OFTEN.
T: Things get real in the field once it touches your lips. This beer is fantastic and, wait for it, is likely the best DIPA that I have ever had. I know this betrays my Pliny roots and the west coast in general but it just cannot be denied or overstated. The hops start out in a sweet/tart note then the deceptacons gather and a huge herbal robot assembles all up in my grill. HE BEGS FOR AMISTAD. The herbal wafts expand like I am all into home growing except my mouth is the botanical garden, and there is only consumption.
M: This beer has an amazing character that I would liken to a Subaru STI, an incredible speed and efficiency to it that just whips me about effortlessly, takes my money, and leaves me wanting more. The coating is minimal but perfectly balanced for the style. It somehow doesn’t fall into the old trap of east coast IPAs where there foolishly seek balance. This is just crazy from beginning to end.
D: I can’t even seriously address this section without hyperbole. Live Oak Hef and this beer need to go head to head for the most ridiculously drinkable beer ever made. I will judge Live Oak Hef the winner but only for its galleon speed and not the man-o-war impressive notes that this beer imparts. In sum, this beer is incredible and the growler barely made its way to the Stone Sour Fest where it was met with mild nods of approval and summarily dispatched. For a beer so apparently lackluster, its 64oz were torn limb from limb. My handkerchief remained damp throughout the proceedings.
Narrative: “If you know not for the elusive Ephramus, it is because he is of the forest, never to be held.” The camp counselor told the youth, staring into their entranced faces. “Many years ago, I was visited, if only for fleeting moments, down by the lake, by Ephramus.” One child whose front two teeth were clearly missing whistled annoying “geesy, tells us more counshelors Morrish!” Counselor Morris lowered his brow severely, “if you ever see the Ephramus ghost, you must flee immediately, for it will consume your heart and spirit as easily as I consume this Fruit by the Foot.” Demonstratively, he consumed 3 feet of fruit roll up, much to the dismay of the children. Suddenly, Ephramus approached the campfire and moaned waning, “Ooooohhh Morrisssss you could have invoked me more ofteeeennnn but you refused to payyy Fed Exxxxxxx” Counselor Morris fell to his knees with careless abandon, sobbing. He knew that he gave up his love for his bitter distrust of shipping systems. Ephramus never crossed the streams.