I am a hop addict. I love bitter & twisted IBU trips. I love super spicy food too. I love the cold sweat, sinus clearing, drippy eyed feeling from a spicy chilli. The first big bombastic mouth-smashing beer I ever had was Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, & I almost choked. But, I found ‘my beer’. Then came Hardcore IPA, which was like getting smooshed by Mike Tyson square on the jaw from one of those hellacious uppercuts. The, in 2014 Palate Wrecker from Green Flash appeared in my hands from a friend who came back from SD. I was excited. Scared. Tense. Then, my taste-buds needed CPR, & it was awesome. Five years on, Palate Wrecker made its way to my door once again. And it was glorious.
There are those who just will never understand those of us who love a big bastard bitter bomb of a beer. You don’t drink it to enjoy the flavours, as often there’s a spicy bitterness that almost burns your tongue like chilli. It’s the sheer rush of how the beer makes you feel. It is a full on sensory attack testing the absolute limits of what your palate can discern & deal with.
These are what I call my ‘thrill ride beers‘. It’s not for refreshment, or to accompany/compliment some food or even to just ‘session’. The sole reason for them in my books is the same as roller-coasters; to experience a rush. Opening this relatively fresh bottle of ‘Palate Wrecker’ (bottled this year), a massive rush of Simcoe explodes from the bottle & I can already feel my heart rate increase.
I love Simcoe as a hop. It is my all-time favorite hop. And in Palate Wrecker, are two of my other favorites; Centennial & Columbus. This triumvirate of hops is for me THE essence of what built the west coast craft beer movement. The head on this for a 9.2% beer sits atop the fiery hop inferno, mocking. Even from an arms reach away, huge swathes of pine & resin are almost overwhelming. I can feel this is going to be epic. And my pulse is racing even harder.
As I go in for a nose, literally the equivalent of a move to have my face shorn clean off, there’s the grapefruit. And it’s big. Someone smooshing a fresh breakfast grapefruit in your face twisting it around like it’s Homey the clown smashing a flour sock across your face. And, it’s magnificent.
Once you get into the beer, it’s a caramel powered angry bastard bitter of a beer that has long spicy hop notes, & it is utterly relentless. I love Hardcore IPA by BrewDog (even if they don’t anymore), but that beer is like a beginner’s introduction to bitter bombs compared to this. This beer has a single mission. Palate Wrecking. Making it through this beer is like going on Nemesis at Alton Towers as your first roller-coaster experience.
This beer is not complex. It’s not there to to be clever. It doesn’t exist to be happy. It exists for one reason – to delight those of us who dare to push our palates to breaking point. For fun. And it’s over 9000 in how it does it.