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Monday, March 5, 2012

Growlin' at the Moon - Phase 2

My growler for the second cycle of the 2012 Growlin' at the Moon growler exchange BIF (Beer It Forward) landed on the same day as "Imminent Liquidation," so the box ended up sitting on my front porch all day and overnight until I decided to check on Sunday to see if it had arrived.  Alas, it did... from The Lone Star State of Texas.  I quickly opened the box to discover a growler from a brewery with which I was unfamiliar - Freetail Brewing Co.  Named after a species of bat common in the southwestern states and Mexico know as the Free-tailed Bat, Freetail Brewing Co. opened its doors over Thanksgiving weekend in November 2008 in San Antonio, TX.  I discovered that the liquid occupying my brown glass jug was a newly brewed IPA named Velocihoptor, named after a type of dinosaur known as a Velociraptor.  I did some reconnaissance via Google, because I was unable to find a listing for the beer on BeerAdvocate.com.  A quick check on Ratebeer.com informed me that this was indeed a new either seasonal or one-off IPA, because there were only two reviews.  What I read in the two succinct reviews was that this was a dank, hemp-like IPA with plenty of tropical fruit flavor.  I weighed my options and realized that I would have no time to drink this growler until the following weekend, so I conferred with Brewslut and we decided to crack it open on Sunday night.  Glad we did, because it was damn delicious!  Check out my formal review below.  Thanks to BA jamescain for sending it my way, along with a cool Lagunitas mason jar glass, cans of Maui Big Swell IPA and Coconut Porter, and a bomber of Oatmeal Pale Ale from Ranger Creek Brewing Co. (a first for me).  Cheers!

Appearance - Extremely hazy caramel-dipped orange liquid with ample carbonation and almost a finger's width of off-white foam that reduced to a thin cap but left plenty of elaborate shavings of lace allover the glass. This sucker is so hazy that my fingers appear to be mere shadows on the other side when peering through the glass!

Smell - Tropical and dank with a pleasant smack of ripe island fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple) and fairly pungent ganga. Smells like something a stoned surfer would enjoy on the beaches of Hawaii. A hint of alcohol rounds out the aroma profile.

Taste - Juicy and undeniably hoppy with plenty of citrus and tropical notes, but with an amazing balance of lightly toasted grains and barley as well as sweet caramel. Finishes with moderate lingering bitterness on the palate.

Mouthfeel - Texture is fairly creamy but with plenty of prickly carbonation on the tongue. Alcohol heat is minimal but provides a bit of tingle. Bitterness envelopes the palate during the finish.

Overall - Fantastic first impression of this brewery from the Lone Star state! Velocihoptor is one fresh, tasty-ass IPA with plenty of citrus and hemp-like dankness to please any hophead for sure.

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