Now presenting my first-ever beer reviewed from a bottle as opposed to one that I got on tap, as OC’s tap selection rotates next to never and I’ve tried everything on tap that I really want to review for right now. I’m hoping the advent of the Oktoberfest minitour in a couple of weeks changes their list up a bit.
Name: Flashback Anniversary India-Style Brown Ale
Origin: Boulder Beer, Boulder, CO
Style: beeradvocate calls it an APA, Boulder calls it an India-Style Brown Ale, OC shortened it to IBA – I’m sticking with the abbreviation, especially since I’ve had a couple others like it and the abbreviation is handy
I drank this: poured from a bottle at Old Chicago, OP
This beer is a beer with something of an identity crisis. That this should be so should be apparent from what it took for me to list its style: there are compelling arguments for calling it either a brown ale or an IPA, and then beeradvocate had to go muck things up by calling it an APA (which I disagree with, personally – the malts are way too dark to be calling this a pale ale by any definition). I think that IBA (India Brown Ale) makes sense, so we’ll go with that.
To drink this beer is rather like drinking a black and tan made from a really solid brown ale and a really Cascades-heavy IPA. It’s possible to taste both styles of beer almost individually. The brown ale is a really maple-y, sweet, heavily malted type of brown with hints of smoke running through. The IPA part is a bright citrus/grass combination, one that gets an excellent malty backbone from the brown ale.
The issue I (sort of) have with this beer is that the flavors really never melded for me. I felt like I was drinking two distinct beers which weren’t convinced between the two of them that they really wanted to play all that well together. And yet I want another one, because it’s an odd style of ale to make and thus different from almost any other beer I’ve ever had. This is a different I like: it’s unfamiliar but not trying so hard to be unique that it’s rendered itself unrecognizable (or worse, undrinkable). It’s interesting.
Actually, what I really want is to find this on tap so I can see if time in the keg has allowed the flavors to mellow out and enjoy each others’ company.
And if we’re going for full disclosure here, what I really, really want is to find this cask-conditioned next year when I *know* the flavors have had time to fall head over heels for each other, but I’m not holding my breath on ever finding that. It might happen at the brewery, but I’m not hauling my cookies all the way out to Boulder next year just to see how this beer aged. It’s good, but it’s not *that* good.