It occurred to me while tasting Akasha’s latest release, The Chronic, that I was no longer certain what a standard double IPA is supposed to be? I started thinking about all of this because when I first tasted the beer, there was something about it that seemed so much more, for lack of a better word, modern about it. For a bloke that writes mostly about individual beers and their styles, I’m not sure I’ve read the BJCP entry for a double IPA in a very long time. I get there’s plenty of valid criticism about trying to nail down what is a hugely varied style, but you gotta start somewhere, so I did.
What I thought was interesting off the bat is that Akasha have labelled The Chronic as a West Coast IIPA. In a world of hazies, DDH and oat cream, I reckon the more info you can give a consumer about what could possibly be in the can at a glance, the better.
On reading what the BJCP has to say, it struck me that they could very well have had this exact beer in mind. That shouldn’t be surprising for anyone familiar with Dave Padden and his brew team at Akasha, but I just assumed the BJCP would still regard a double IPA as simply citrus, pine, caramel and bitterness.
What The Chronic delivers just isn’t that at all. It does look absolutely lovely: a bright burnished gold with a tight white head. On the nose it’s mango, mandarin oil, grapefruit and a hard candy character that I often get from IPAs that use hop products other than just T90 pellets. The pine and caramel are nowhere to be seen with the malt completely stripped away to highlight a very clean and long lasting bitterness. Without the resinous, oily mouthfeel, you don’t miss the hint of caramalts at all, and it’s so dry, you’d struggle to find much of the 8 percent ABV.
Basically, the upshot is that The Chronic is a very finely crafted beer and a perfect example of what the 2021 BJCP guidelines expect in a double IPA. May we see more like it!
- West Coast IIPA