4 Hands Brewing Company

Incarnation

Our Rating

90

/100
RateBeer Rating
BeerGraph's proprietary measure of a beer's quality, or Beers Above Replacement (BAR), has been converted from a scale of -5-20 to 0-100.

96

out of 100
Availability:-
IBUSRMOGABV
Serving:-
--6.5
Beer stats from RateBeer
Beer stats from RateBeer
category-iconBeer Reviews

4 Hands’ Incarnation is a Winning No-Coast IPA

June 11, 2018

By Matt Osgood, June 11, 2018

I come from the birthplace of the New England IPA. I remember having a debate with my California friends about who makes better hop-forward beers, East Coast or West Coast, back in 2012. This was a debate in which I was in the minority. Of course, then it was a point of pride that there was this nascent style of beer creeping up in small taprooms across the region in which I lived. It was a quaint little notion that we were in on the secret.

Now everyone knows.

It’s reflected, too, on the shelves of beer stores where every brewery—even breweries outside of New England—are trying to recreate the magic of those hazy beers you see across Instagram. As a consumer, though, I’m fed up. I just want an IPA again.

A couple months back, I was in St. Louis and visited 4 Hands Brewing Company. When I did a cursory ask of the bartender what the most popular beer is—I think it was phrased, “What’s everyone drinking? What’s pouring great right now?”—his answer was, “Everyone loves the IPA.” Well of course, I thought, and usually that the masses like it is enough to compel me in another direction, but instead I chose their flagship IPA, Incarnation.

Maybe the best IPA that I’ve had this year hails from neither coast, but rather the banks of the Mississippi River, somewhere in the middle.”

Incarnation is a mosaic-hopped IPA that clocks in at exactly 7% ABV, which is my limit for single IPAs. The best IPAs, I have found, fall somewhere within 6 and 7% ABV. The beer poured a translucent amber, more reminiscent of the hop-forward ales of yore than the orange juice murk that rules now. The aroma was mostly tropical fruit, a pleasant and light nose that’s more delicate than overt.

The beer was, for lack of a better phrase, airy and light. There were big waves of pineapple, apricot, and mango with a slight malt backbone. It was not frothy nor juicy. Even the bitterness of the backend was super mellow and didn’t linger. My biggest regret was not taking a six-pack to go.

When I think about IPA diversity, it goes with the coasts. If I’m looking for a traditional take with strong pine notes and a bracing bitter finish, I’ll go west coast. If I’m trying to assault my palate with juice and no bitterness, I’ll reach for a NEIPA. But maybe the best IPA that I’ve had this year hails from neither coast, but rather the banks of the Mississippi River, somewhere in the middle.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
Related Articles

Shiner Holiday Cheer Bottles the Spirit of the Season

A light-drinking dunkelweizen, Spoetzel's Shiner Holiday Cheer somehow feels more in the spirit of the season than most winter warmers.

The Search for Great Divide’s Chai Yeti Leads to More Stout than Spice

Don’t expect an overly sweet latte experience; do expect a well-made beer with a few spice wrinkles.

Schlafly’s White Pumpkin Ale Is a Seasonal Rarity

In some six packs of Pumpkin Ale, there is a bottle of White Pumpkin Ale. Only one thousand of these elusive beers were produced.

Loading...