By The Gentleman
Normally I wouldn’t take to being associated with an idiot, but in this case I’ll let it pass to sample the Idiot IPA from California’s Coronado Brewing Company. Coronado got into the craft beer game long before it became cool and the prospect of trying a beer from one of the pioneers of the American craft movement is rather appealing, even if it is an idiot.
The Idiot IPA is Coronado’s big hop beer. It blends five different types of hops including Nugget, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus hops. This big blend of hops, or as Coronado describe it ‘stupid amount of hops’, gives the beer a 90 IBU. It’s the most bitter beer they offer and it has the second highest alcohol content, just behind the Stupid Stout at 8.5% ABV. The blend of different hops are also meant to give the beer a variety of different tropical fruit flavours. The Idiot IPA says all the right things on the label and it looks damn good too.
Coronado Brewing Company based their branding off the local legend of Mermaids off the coast of Coronado island. In a reverse of the sirens of mythology, who sought to draw sailors to their doom, the Coronado mermaids used their songs to attract sailors and steer them away from the dangerous, jagged rocks of Point Loma and into the safe harbor of San Diego Bay. Whether you like to believe in legends or not Coronado Brewing Company’ have embraced the mermaid as their logo to seduce you into not only Coronado’s beers but the whole San Diego craft beer culture. I really like the use of this local myth in the branding. The story is interesting and fun and I certainly felt like I was being seduced as I looked over the bottle of Idiot IPA. The Coronado mermaid is gorgeous but strong, plus I like that she’s holding a beer to cover her modesty. It just reminds you again that the mermaid is enticing you to drink the beer. The beer comes in a massive bottle and I like the way they’ve let the amber colour of the bottle dominate the design. It makes the white paint work and little splashes of colour on the label standout even more. This is a seriously stylish design that I am definitely okay with.
The Idiot IPA definitely lives up to its billing as a bitter beer. Wow. The bitterness makes the drink feel quite heavy, which is perfect for the cold winter we are experiencing right now. The aftertaste was definitely bitter but it wasn’t as bitter as the Six Point Global Warmer which left a more bitter aftertaste despite having a slightly lower IBU. The beer had a slightly murky golden orange colour to it. Surprisingly the beer didn’t really pour with any head and there also wasn’t much lacing on the glass. The aroma was really strong caramel malt that was almost too sweet. This caramel flavour transferred through to the taste of the beer, it was probably one of the strongest caramel flavoured beers I’ve had. You could also detect some of those tropical fruit flavours that were promised, mainly some grapefruit which was quite pleasant. For me at least the flavours were quite separate, as the first few sips gave off the fruit flavours and then as you went on the flavour changed and the caramel malt started to dominate. I wasn’t expecting this and it made the Idiot IPA a bit of a mysterious drink. At first I didn’t think the Idiot IPA’s 8.5% ABV was actually that strong, but as I slowly made my way through the big 650ml bottle I realised that it was slowly taking its toll. Tread lightly friends, this one can sneak up on you.
Don’t be a fool, the Idiot IPA is a stylish and interesting beer. If you enjoy really bitter beers and a surprising amount of caramel and grapefruit then this is definitely for you. If not, you can at least appreciate the rather stylish label from Coronado. For me though the big bitter and caramel flavours were just what was needed during a cold winter.