Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mad River in Michigan

Last month I went on a Michigan beer tour, stopping at a few different breweries and pubs, as well as Siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids. I picked up a few special Michigan beers, chief among them some Founders Backwoods Bastard and the Petoskey Pale Ale I've written about below.

What I also picked up at Siciliano's were some Mad River brews that I haven't seen in a long time that seem to be unavailable in the Chicago area where I live. I remembered Mad River from craft beer boom of the early-1990s. The Mad River Brewing Company opened in Blue Lake, California back in 1989. As you can see on their website, is still going strong and prides itself on achieving a 98 percent reduction in waste, which is pretty cool. I recalled the Mad River Jamaica Brand Red Ale as one of the first real hoppy West Coast beers I ever tried. This got me wondering if it would still seem hoppy to me about 17 years after first trying it. I ended up picking up two Mad River brews, the Jamaica Red and Sunset India Pale.

I opened up the Jamaica Red a couple weeks ago and dashed off a review on Beer Advocate and tonight I'm enjoying the Sunset India Pale Ale this evening. As you can see in the BA review, I was a little disappointed with the condition of the Jamaica Red, but the brewery is redeeming itself with its IPA. It's a hazy amber IPA that has an aroma full of citrus and it tastes very citrusy, too. Grapefruit is a big flavor is this beer, so those of you who like that flavor in their IPAs should like this one. The bitterness is very smooth and could be considered somewhat restrained for an IPA, but since the rest of the beer is hoppy (plenty of hoppy aroma and flavor) the lack of powerful bitter finish can be forgiven. Hints of tropical fruit flavors such as guava and mango show up a bit as the beer warms up which add to the complexity. The carbonation level of this beer has me concerned at first (it didn't pour with much foam) but overall this is a tasty IPA that I would definitely drink again.

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