Double IPA is a popular style among hardcore beer fans because of the powerhouse of flavor it can deliver. Though you can’t sit on your back porch and drink three or four of them like you can a Pilsner or a Pale Ale, the Double IPA is instead a beer you use to see what kinds of hop flavors and aromas a brewery can produce.
Just as much as you might judge a brewery based on how clean of a Pilsner they can make, you can also use the Double IPA as a litmus test of what a brewer can do when given free rein to chart a course to Flavor Town.
Barebottle Brewing Company’s Giant’s Grove is their take on the Double IPA with the heritage of their excellent and probably most famous single IPA, Muir Woods. As the name suggests, the beer is strong with a pine needle, Sequoia sap flavor and aroma with a sticky consistency against the glass. It, like other Barebottle Double IPAs, is a thicker brew that goes down smooth in an almost silky fashion.
The primary hop that we taste is Simcoe, but it’s not the only hop used in the blend. A dose of Simcoe is added before the whirlpool and is the final hop added during dry hopping, but it’s backed by Warrior, Centennial, Azacca, Amarillo, and Citra. The latter two in that list join Simcoe in dry hopping. The result is a beer with a strong bitter backbone, likely thanks to Warrior and Centennial, that’s rounded well by the aforementioned smooth piney flavor profile.
As it warms, Giant’s Grove doesn’t grow in bitterness or maltiness, instead staying clean and lightly sweet. It’s by no means a “crisp” beer, but that subtle sweetness and pleasant bitter notes play well together and make for an overall extremely easy drink. Though it may be a challenge to drink multiple Giant’s Groves in one sitting, the alluring flavor of this beer will keep you coming back for more. It has many characteristics of both modern Double New England IPAs and Double West Coast IPAs, but rides the line between the two styles. Giant’s Grove does lean more towards the former, but those who crave a strongly bitter brew will find a lot to love about this beer.