Brewery: Central Waters Brewing Co., Amherst, Wisconsin
Beer: Illumination Double IPA
Serving: 12 oz bottle
Information: 9% ABV
Style: American Double IPA
Availability: Spring Seasonal
Cellaring: Not recommended for extended aging.
Pairings: Mango salsa and lightly salted tortilla chips, Mexican pizza, vanilla ice cream with crushed almonds and cayenne pepper.
The sexy sound of the beer pouring into the glass is music to my ears. A densely packed cream head rises quietly and sticks around for a while. Thick, chunky lace coats the glass above a hazy goldenrod yellow-orange-colored beer.
Mounds of pine needle and sticky, sappy resin overthrow the inevitable grapefruit citrus nose which is nice for a change. Usually it’s the other way around with the American hops, though this beer is certainly not without plenty of tropical fruit aroma. A hearty malty sweetness full of dense bread and caramel cube balances the hops well.
The taste reflects the nose quite well. A more powerful pine resin flavor opens up leading into a sweet malty backbone that immediately gives way to a tongue-bruising, teeth-hurting citrus bitter kick. Other nuances pull through after the initial shock of the hop-roundhouse kick to the face wears off. Notes of honey-drizzled toast and a slight spicy yeast component share a low-level spot-light with a very subtle alcohol sensation.
The alcohol is almost non-existent in this beer save for the miniscule warming finish and light solvent aroma passed through the olfactory upon retronasal breathing! The medium-full body and light, lively carbonation don’t do much to mask the severe bitterness that carries through the finish but the balanced sweetness helps tone down the well-deserved hop-smack. I can’t think of a thing I’d change here.
Illumination is a great beer from home-boys Central Waters. In sticking with their mantra of “balance, even with big hops” as it were, Illumination serves up plenty for the huge hop head but remains different enough to stand out in a sea of hop monsters. Delicious and drinkable, especially for the high alcohol content, Illumination is a double IPA from Wisconsin that makes me proud.
Score: 91 / 100 – Exceptional