For the record I have had this beer before but never a WHOLE beer. The only time I’ve had this previously was at a beer festival so technically I’m still living up to trying something new. In fact the last time I had this was 2006 at the All American Beer Festival during the 2006 MLB All Star Weekend in Pittsburgh.
East End is not only Pittsburgh’s best kept secret but also PA’s. Brewmaster/owner/washer/buyer/marketer/label guy/pimp/anything else for the brewery is Scott Smith. That’s right, it’s a one man show with many volunteers. What holds dear to me is that his brewing system is from the once home of myself, Foundry Ale Works. If you ever get the chance to say hi to Scott I highly suggest you do so. He’s a great guy who loves great beer. Or as his slogan says “Buy a good friend a good beer.”
Big Hop IPA is a super hopped up beer and is the first that came down the lines at East End. This time I’m drinking from a growler (1/2 gallon or 64oz) that was filled during Growler Hours this past weekend so it’s pretty fresh. If you’re following along, I was in Erie last weekend so sickpuppy from Should I Brew That (and my co-host from SIDT) picked one up for me.
The IPA pours a slightly hazy amber hue with little head (remember this is from a growler). After my 2nd and 3rd though I had a nice 2 finger head which died rather fast. Unlike most IPA’s I’ve had before this one has a faint aroma of hops which didn’t bode well with me at first since I like a balance of both aroma and flavor but this beer was packed with hop goodness. You’ll have a nice linger of hops on the back of your tongue so even when you finish a pint you’ll still have the taste to remind you of why this is a quality brew.
All good things said, the only downfall I found was that it seemed to be too carbonated. Not soda drink bubbly but noticeable but it won’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the IPA. When you’re in the area or see East End Brewing at a beer festival it is a must that you check them, err him, out. Thumbs up Scott!
Hops: Centennial, Cascade