Love them or hate them, hazy IPAs aren’t going anywhere soon. Bigger breweries are increasingly producing versions of the style, with varying success. Firestone Walker has one. Sierra Nevada does, too. And now it is Boulevard Brewing Company’s turn.
With Space Camper Cosmic IPA, the brewery says that it has created “a juicy IPA bursting with tropical fruit flavors and aromas of nectar and citrus.” At 5.9% ABV, it’s maybe a touch lighter than most beers in its category, but that might not be a bad thing.
Unlike most hazy IPAs, Space Camper is packaged in 12-ounce cans. With its red and white astronaut and metallic packaging, it shouldn’t be hard to spot in your local store. It pours a gold color with a good amount of head, but it’s not as cloudy as you might anticipate.
If you smelled Space Camper with a blindfold on, you might mistake it for a drink that has an umbrella in it. Notes of guava, passion fruit, pineapple and coconut jump from the glass. There’s a hint of white wine, too, that might make you linger over the glass for a while.
Imagine someone stuck a tropical drink under your nose, but it ended up tasting more like a mimosa.”
With such an expressive nose, explosive flavor must follow, right? Not exactly. Space Camper has a much more restrained taste than its aroma suggests. There is some orange, grassy, and herbal notes, but all of these are on the lighter side. It doesn’t have a full mouthfeel, and you don’t get that hop bite that I prefer even with hazy IPAs. With that said, Space Camper is well balanced, with a dry finish. Imagine someone stuck a tropical drink under your nose, but it ended up tasting more like a mimosa. That’s what you’ll get with this beer.
Boulevard didn’t shoot for the stars with Space Camper, and maybe that has to do with concerns about shelf stability. Whatever the reason, it is an easy-drinking beer that you’ll stop and think about. Will it replace your go-to hazy IPA? Probably not. Is it a good introduction for someone new to the style? Yes.