Overlook IPA – Pennsylvania Brewing Company – 6% ABV
The Pennsylvania Brewing Company, or Penn Brewery, is dubbed as “Pittsburgh’s Microbrewery.” I’ve had the fortune to receive a couple styles from them in the latest craft beer of the month delivery made to my house. In case I forgot to mention before, aside from picking up craft brews at Buy Rite and other liquor stores, I’ve decided to do the online thing. It is the 21st century after all. Each month, I get a 12 pack sent to the house. It contains three beers each of four different styles. Like Forrest Gump said about life, this delivery is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Let’s take a look at this one.
The label is something to look at. An oval picture frame hosts a trolley in the middle of the city, I’m guessing Pittsburgh, aka “Steel City.” This is framed by the brewery name and has black and white checkerboard pattern in various areas. Right through the middle of the frame, a banner is draped across with the words “Overlook IPA” written in Olde English. The label states that the beer is brewed with pure Two-Row Barley Malt and Zeus hops. Upon pouring this into a glass, I can see the barley malt in action. This is nice and golden amber/caramel/copper colored, quite clear, leaving a thick off-white head of tiny bubbles. This likely was bottle-conditioned, as I’ve heard that those tiny bubbles are a tell-tale sign of such a process.
To look at Overlook IPA is one thing, but to smell it and taste it is another. Getting a nice deep whiff of this, I can smell those Zeus hops giving a nice earthy floral bouquet, rather than something citrusy or grapefruit-like some might expect from something hoppy like this. I guess that’s the great thing about hops. Like various malts you can choose from to brew your beer to alter the flavor, so too can you vary the hops selection. So the smell is a bit earthy, but what about the taste? Glad you asked.
Upon first sip, the hops flavor gets you almost instantly. But this isn’t that pungent, make-you-squirm-in-agony-and-contort-your-facial-expressions kind of bitterness. Like the aroma before it, the taste is a little more earthy. There is also a slightly spicy characteristic to it. It leaves behind a decent bitterness, but there is definite malt presence beneath. Again, earthy. There is a little carbonation to be spoken for, the head diminished fast and furious and thus left less lacing throughout than anticipated, but I’m not really concerned with counting bubbles. No sir. The flavor is what I’m here for, and this one has plenty of it to analyze. This is fairly medium bodied, and the 6% alcohol hides itself well. Hard not to when the main attention-getter is the hops.
What do I think of Overlook IPA? For an IPA, I liked it. By now everyone knows I’m not a hoppy beer drinker, but I can be known to experiment from time to time. My fellow Keg Tappers Juan and Rob should get their hands on this, as I know they both like hoppy brew. I’d like to get their take on this one from a hophead’s perspective. From where I stand, it’s a pretty solid and fairly easy to drink selection. Is it bitter? Yes. That’s the point. But is it painfully so? No. If you’re into IPAs or anything hoppy, go see what Steel City has to offer you. Cheers!