The Yakima Valley is a cornucopia of beer. Not only is the region a rich home for wine grapes, but it’s also the source of 80 percent of the hops grown in the United States. This is why IPAs out of Washington and Oregon carry such incredible hop loads—the dank little cones are growing everywhere you look. Portland’s Von Ebert Brewing is just downwind from Yakima. So, for their first-ever can release, they debuted Never Tell, an imperial IPA propped up on a heap of Yakima-grown Simcoe and Mosaic hops.
There’s been something of a whisper campaign hyping this beer up since February, spurred by its bronze medal win at the 2020 Oregon Beer Awards. Never Tell is a doubled up version of their already lauded Volatile Substance IPA, with both beers taking their names and aesthetic from the Violent Femmes and their 1984 single “Never Tell”. Great beers rarely remain unknown for long, and as the song says, “I will find you out.”
At 102 IBU, Never Tell is not trying to hide its hoppiness. Rarely do you see bitterness units that high anymore, but we’re toasting to the region that built West Coast IPAs. You can taste every digit of that IBU. It makes you move slowly, drinking in the thick, resinous beer like it’s a broth made of hops and malt. It transforms your breath into a Douglas Fir air freshener. One exhale, and you could perfume a Camry.
But the bitterness is subtle compared to the aroma. Once you punch the tab, clementine and ruby red grapefruit billow out. It's enough to turn any hophead into a bloodhound, sniffing around the party for the person who brought the Mosaic bomb. But these tallboys are hard to come by, so drink in private, in a small room, and override your olfactory system.
Excuse me if I’m blowing up Von Ebert’s spot with this review. Excuse me if there’s a lineup next time one of their brewpubs hosts a release. I simply couldn’t help myself. This beer is too good to keep a secret.