The IPA market in craft beer these days looks a little bit like the East Coast and West Coast Rap Battles of the Nineties.
For any of you that missed it, when Rap and Hip-Hop really started to grow in popularity, East Coast and West Coast Rap were constantly feuding and trying to one up each other. Artists such as Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, Mase, Tupac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg (he’s since dropped the Doggy), and Nate Dogg were dropping songs left and right dissing each other and sometimes getting nasty with each other physically, leading to violence and even murder.
Now I’m not saying that the brewers in the Northeast and the brewers on the West Coast are going to start dropping diss beers, (though that would be pretty interesting if they did!) but the Northeast IPA’s have been getting the hype for some time now, taking attention away from the formerly highly sought after West Coast Style IPAs.
The West Coast IPAs feel a lot like a Dr. Dre produced track: polished, smooth, classic. Dre’s beats are sick, and the West Coast beers are made filtered, and have typically dank fresh piney West Coast hops. The NE IPAs are more like Notorious B.I.G. maybe: a little more grimy, a little more street. Unfiltered and dirty, bringing a slightly different less polished attitude to the beer.
Soul Style IPA is a classic West Coast style IPA. It’s brewed by Green Flash, one of the larger West Coast producers in the beer market. Green Flash is known for classic West Coast style IPAs, which are readily available almost everywhere from coast to coast, especially since the recent expansion of their operations across the country. They opened an East Coast base of operations in Virginia, and just announced a new brewery opening in Nebraska.
Green Flash has helped to define the classic definition of West Coast IPAs.”
Soul Style pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a slight head that fades rather quickly after about a minute or so. The beer uses “Waves of Hops” as it states on the can; Citra, Simcoe, and Cascade, all hops which bring out the aroma of grapefruit, lemon, and pine.
Much like the classic song Still D.R.E, this beer is an instant classic, immediately recognizable as a West Coast IPA. Green Flash has helped to define the classic definition of West Coast IPAs, creating really great, solid offerings, and Soul Style is no exception to this.
At first sip the beer tastes of grapefruit, and orange peel. Soul Style has a medium body to it, making it one that can be consumed easily and frequently. The use of traditional West Coast Hops makes the bittering fall off relatively early, and the malt used has a strong biscuity bready taste, which makes it seem lighter than its IBU score of 75. At 6.8% alcohol by volume, you won’t feel as if you are going to fall over after a few, but you may feel the effects. The beer bills itself as “Bright & Tropical” which is a fairly good bullet point description.
Soul Style is available year-round, in cans or bottles, and also comes in a tasty variant with Tangerine. The can art is the recognizable Green Flash logo, with a big band of orange in the middle identifying the beer name.
Even with Green Flash physically encroaching on East Coast territory, this is one West Coast hip hop entry I think all beer drinkers can get behind. Now excuse me while I bump some California Love and finish my Soul Style.