Drunken Speculation

#69 Mountain Goat India Pale Ale

mountain goat ipaWhen confined to their core range, I think the Richmond-based brewery Mountain Goat Beer, like their namesake, rarely puts a foot wrong. There, bias declared.

One of the doyens of the beer scene, the Goat has been in the beer selling since 1997. That’s right, since last century. We’ve previously looked at one of their oldest beers, Hightail Ale (it was early days on the blog, OK?), and their newest beer, the canned Summer Ale.

This beer, however, was recently defeated by Burleigh’s FIGJAM on Frozen Beer Review Battle Pods after previously seeing off Little Creatures IPA. I don’t think I agree but I haven’t done a side-by-side blind tasting, so what do I know? How about we settle for a sighted singular tasting?

The label reads:

This is a hop driven, malty ale with strong bitterness thanks to a good dose of Citra and Galaxy hops. It’s a tough nut, but loveable all the same.

I first came across this beer after the Bacchus Brew Day last year. At the time, a Mountain Goat IPA sounded like a safe way to get another Untappd check-in. I ended up having two. I now have a compulsion to buy it whenever I see it, so it’s safe to say I like it. Bias declared, again.

Upon pouring, this Australian-made IPA presents a dark, burnt orange colour with a thick dense white head. And that head is retained well. On the nose, there’s perfectly piquant hop notes for an American style beer that’s neither overwhelming nor underdone in intensity. It’s predominantly grapefruit, with little to none of the caramel found in bigger IPAs. I’ve also previously gotten pineapple from the draught version.

The flavour experience beings with a strong punch of hops. The Goat Beer offers primarily citrus flavour, combining with some undertones of grass. There’s a bit of viscosity, but it’s perhaps closer to a pale ale than a double IPA in mouthfeel. I prefer this because I hate the feeling of glugging down an oil slick. The Goat has a relatively dry finish for an IPA. There’s a solid hop bitter kick at the back end too, which lingers on your tongue but not for too long.

On the other hand, and this probably my only criticism, there is the merest trace of wateriness about it through the middle. I’m not sure if you can actually reconcile my desire for a relatively dry, malt backward (that’s the opposite of malt forward, right?) IPA with not having any watery character to it. There’s no other flavours left to fill the profile without going Belgian and all weird.

So I’ve made my own critique redundant. The Mountain Goat IPA is officially – as official as my opinion gets, at least – a great beer. I think its the perfect IPA, proving that in my mind restraint and balance are sometimes better than a metric assload of hops. Let’s consider it this year’s Mt Macedon Ale, which incidentally was the last time I gave out a score this high. I suggest you try it and then keep buying it until you agree with me.

Summary

  • Website
  • Genre: IPA
  • Regionality: Richmond, VIC
  • Strength: 6.2%
  • Rating: 3 / 3 taste + 2 / 2 ancillaries = 5 / 5
  • Plus: All of it
  • Minus: I couldn’t knock any points off for my miniscule criticism
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