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June 23, 2009

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Kevin: I actually had this a while back too. I really dug the flavors and complexity, but I did find it a big weighty for my palate.

That's really a stylistic preference though. What would you pair this beer with?

It does sound like a big beer especially in the summer. I would pair it with, based on the style and description, with big bold flavors: spicy chili, hot wings, beef/pork quesidillas, jambalaya.

These beer reviews are killer. Very nice add to the site.

Lenn,

Dan is on the right path with the pairings. The only exception I would say is that this beer might have to big of a body for the wings and the buffalo sauce might not vibe well with the flavors. I usually go with an IPA for wings as the body matches the texture of the meat and the hops cut away at the spice.

As far as being weighty on the palate, the beer sure is. This imperial fad that has struck the American craft brewing scene has created quite a debate. They are usually way high in ABV and are packaged in bigger bottles. They are definatly meant to share, and need some food to go with them so your palate doesn't feel like it was in a car crash. With that being said, they are usually the breweries best beers.

great pick, kevin.
i believe that the TEN was made with NY state hops as well. or was that the double IPA from a couple years ago? anyway, this beer is really good, and the malt supports the hops very well, unlike some IPAs you get that seem to have hops for hops' sake.

Tom,

I get the impression that you think the TEN is an IPA. It is not. The TEN is an imperial red ale, or as the brewery itself calls it a "monster version" of the Cascazilla which is a very good, very hoppy red ale. Red ale of course being a lighter colored version of an amber ale.

When talking about the New York State hops, you are thinking of the Ithaca Double IPA which was brewed a couple years ago and is no longer in production. According to head brewer Jeff O'Neil the reason for the halt in production of the Double IPA was due to the price increase of the hops. The iThaca Beer Company was willing to pay the rising costs but the hop farmer was not willing to. You can find my video review of the beer here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8QrNCfxcbw&feature=channel_page) and the text review here (http://thefoaminghead.com/ithaca_double_ipa.html).

Interestingly enough, Ithaca has brewed a new, reincarnation (similiar, but not the exact same) version of the Double IPA. The beer is called Alphalpha, and is a member of the Excelsior! series. Alphalpha uses all NY state hops as well as local NY state honey. The beer is currently sitting in my beer cellar and will be reviewed soon on www.thefoaminghead.com. Let Lenn know if you want me to review it on here. Hope this was helpful. I love the comments guys, keep them coming.

kevin:
thanks for the clarification. i guess it makes sense that pale malt would provide less "maltiness" than a slightly darker malt.

i live in ithaca, so i've had just about all of their beers. even the duds, like the kaffinator espresso one and the one they aged in tabasco barrels.

PS is there still a "hops shortage"?

Tabasco barrels? That couldn't have been any good.

I haven't heard much about the hops shortage lately, but Kevin would know better than I.

Does Ithaca do growlers? May need you to bring me some to our Tweetup! I'm a Cascazilla guy.

IBC does fill growlers.

The hop shortage is kind of a complicated issue. I think the "shortage" is actually more of just a price increase.

The bottom line is that most of the really good American craft brewers are getting what they need but you might have to just pay a little more. I might turn the "hop shortage" idea into a post/column.

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