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Full Sail Grandsun of Spot IPA

Today I have with me the newest summer beer in Full Sail’s Brewmasters Reserve Series for 2009 which I found on the shelves of The Four Firkins. Full Sail is an employee run brewery out of Hood River, Oregon and produces some solid ales including their new Session Black Lager. Every summer Full Sail brews a summer IPA starting in 2001 with a beer called Sunspot. Each year the recipe is modified slightly based on what is available for harvest that year. This year Grandsun of Spot is brewed with Columbus and Zeus Hops as well as Munich and Honey Malts and is said to be an “aggressive IPA” with “a full malt flavor”. Lets see how it stacks up. Color is a lovely bright red hue that is slightly translucent when brought to light. Head was a solid 2-3 fingers of off white foam that remain for many minutes leaving a decent amount of lacing around the glass. Nice gentle aromas of citrus and hop bitterness are complimented by a good amount of honey malt. Flavor is full of hop bitterness with modest flavors coming out from the Munich and Honey Malts but only enough to be an undertone. The mouthfeel of the beer is definitely lightened by the use of Honey Malt and I really enjoy the subtle honey notes present in the flavor occasionally but they definitely play runner up to the massively bitter hops present. Some citrus and floral hop notes are present and add some complexity, but again are overpowered by bitterness. Body is medium for the style. The 6% ABV of this beer will probably go unnoticed unless you confuse yourself with the bitterness.  As this brew warms, and perhaps as by tongue gets more accustomed to the hops present the malt flavors expose their sweet caramely flavors a bit more but are still not the dominate ingredient in this beer, additionally the floral and citrus hop notes are easier to identify adding some additional complexity to this brew. As someone who is a big fan of hops and bitterness I definitely enjoyed drinking this beer. Many people don’t find bitter flavors hydrating so I am honestly a bit surprised they market this brew as a summer beer, but for me a nice bitter IPA after a long bike ride can be heaven. Not the most complex or balanced IPA out there but if you dig bittering hops you will be all over this beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Full Sail Grandsun of Spot IPA

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