Brewery: Pipeworks Brewing Company
Locale: Chicago, IL
Craft Circa: 2012
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Notables: Very limited yield with this one; Sorachi Ace hops are very hard to come by according to Pipeworks. B&B obtained batch #32.
Label: Solid. Shout out to a local artist yet again, and yet another winner. The bottle art is by Jason Burke (Ink and Lead Designs). We are thinking it’s a play on “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” a Ray Bradbury novel with a beautiful portrayal of a hopped up version of the carnival leader, Mr. Dark. Oh, and the handwritten batch indicator as well. Phenomenal Label.
Overall: Very unique aroma smacks you in the nasal sensory once you pop the top. Whatever hops those are, thinking the Sorachi Ace Hops -- since we were unfamiliar with this until promoted so wisely and effectively by Pipeworks on Facebook -- introduces itself nicely. It’s an inimitable whiff of pleasantry, intoxicating, and builds excitement.
It’s hoppy for sure. What an entertaining, complex beer to decode. It is crisp, has a nice imperial dose of malts, and the flavor zig zags down LSD on a crotch rocket. This is unlike any IPA we’ve had. The hops “hop” on your tongue and present itself nicely with its full bodied flavor. However, what gives this beer its charisma are the lemon & lime hints, the dill pickle undertones, and the bubblegum illusions of flavor? Yes… you read correct, I’m going with bubblegum… it’s a hop carnival indeed.
It was a short notice for a release, as many artisan brews are now these days. B&B learned of its release and headed down to the local grocer to obtain a bottle about 20 minutes after the announcement. B&B discovered Printers Row Wine Shop which is a nice hidden gem with a great selection in the south loop area. Almost hate to mention it as I’m not one to share, but the service was top notch, and like I said, wonderful selection. Upon purchasing, it was mentioned that this was bottled about 40 minutes prior to being shelved. Bottled, distributed, consumed, and savored in a matter of 3 hours. It’s euphoric. That's a free market and capitalism for you.
It’s very smooth for a double, with a vast array of swirling flavors. There is a lingering bitter presence after each sip that is rather enjoyable. A hop carnival indeed; a spooky brew, and influenced perhaps by wizardry as well. But this isn't "butterbeer" served at "The Three Broomsticks" or "The Hog's Head" in Hogsmeade…
Acquisition: Two 22 ounces - $22
Windfall: Fitting this brew made its way upon us seemingly in tribute to the works of Ray Bradbury, whom died in June of this year. Suitable since this beer was so unique, outer space in a sense, similar to Bradbury works. There’s an interesting, and timely piece on the significance of Ray Bradbury in pop culture here.
In addition, John Williams took the dialogue from the famous scene in William Shakespeare's Macbeth in which the witches are around the cauldron and wrote lyrics for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." One of the witches says: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."