Schlafly's American India Pale Ale, 2013 vintage, tastes remarkably similar to this year's Hopslam from Bell's.
Certainly not a bad thing.
American IPA crafted by the Saint Louis Brewery (Schlafly)
The American IPA is darker in color than anticipated. Burnt orange by estimation but slightly more brown than the hue of University of Texas fame.
This beer produces a small head that is not persistent. By first sip, foam is almost fully removed with only trace lacing remaining on the glass.
The aroma is subtle by IPA standards offering musky but light pines. Nothing is repugnant of the American IPA's scent, but it is disappointingly mild.
The flavor is generally tasty but a bit too strongly dominated by its overall bitterness.
But, let us consider; this is a beer that reminds of Hopslam. So, clearly, Schlafly's American IPA succeeds.
The flavor profile begins with big spicy hops right at the tip of the tongue. Bold bitter notes push the tingling to the back of the mouth. A tartness strikes the sides of the palate provoking some puckering.
Despite the strength of the hops, the American IPA's mouthfeel is excellent in its consistency. While not thick, this beer flows by no means thinly, serving a texture perfect for its class.
IPA flavors are often described as one, or more, of: floral, citrusy, grassy, or piney. In this case, while the aroma delivered hints of pine, this Schlafly flavor profile is generally citrus in nature. There is (minor) grapefruit and (more) lime going on here. Both combine to produce a sparse tang-like character.
But the American IPA's dominating attribute is its piercing spiciness.
A feature absent from this beer, but exceptional in Hopslam, is any gentle sweetness. Hopslam has that hint of honey that pulls the flavor profile together, whereas this beer lacks any similar sort of subtle surprise.
Overall, this is an enjoyably flavorful beer that simply demonstrates a lack of balance.
Despite minor flaws, Schlafly's American India Pale Ale is still an excellent option from an outstanding style of ale. It's certainly worthy of three of five stars, and a strong recommendation from TheCraftBeerGuru.com.