Back in February, two summery, orange-juice-hazy IPAs from Alberta Street's just-minted Great Notion Brewing—Ripe IPA and Juice Jr.—were judged among the top five in Portland in a blind taste test. (Fat Head's had the top two; Breakside's IPAs are brewed in Milwaukie.)
Hunsaker and Edmunds, West Coast classicists at heart, thought the cloudiness was more flaw than feature, and both declined to make an opaque IPA when we asked them. Pulp Free IPA is now their collaborative answer to all the orange haze—a tropical late-hopped stew of Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado that comes in at a low, low 45 IBU.
Hundreds of beer dudes, including a lot of brewers, crammed into Growler Guys last week to get the first taste. Surprise! The beer was kinda hazy. Edmunds says the opacity is a bit of a mystery, because aside from maybe some yeast borrowed from Hopworks, they brewed it the same way he'd make his own honey-colored Wanderlust. It's also juicy as hell.
But the Pulp Free has a finer and lighter haze than Great Notion's, with a bit more of the classic IPA bitterness balancing out the grapefruity blast and intense hop funk coming off the nose. You could call Pulp Free a sort of grand compromise between Vermont and West Coast IPAs, or you could just call it a damn fine beer. It's on tap at Fat Head's until it blows. Recommended.