Image by Flickr user cizauskas Tap that cask up.
Tuesday at 5 p.m., the Charleston Beer Exchange gang is cracking open a cask of Coronado Brewing's Islander IPA for this week's Rare Beer Tuesday.
Coronado, California's aptly named Coronado Brewing Company arrived in the Lowcountry a few weeks ago with four extremely fresh selections -- Mermaid Red, Orange Avenue Wit, Idiot IPA, and Islander IPA. Having had all four, some in larger quantities than others (namely Islander & Mermaid), I think it's safe to say these are all best-in-class examples of their respective styles.
But this isn't just a keg of Islander we're talking about here, which would be exciting enough. It's a cask ale (or real ale) version of Islander. The CBX blog romantically explains:
If you have never been to one of our rare cask ale releases before, it is beer in it's purest form: conditioned in the cask and free of force carbonated, filtration or other processing. Real cask ales allow the beer to showcase different nuances of texture, flavor and aroma than their normally kegged counterparts.
Islander IPA clocks in at 7.5% ABV, earns a B+ from BeerAdvocate, and a 95 from Ratebeer. I think Ratebeer is a little closer to the truth on this one. I was lucky enough to try it very soon after making its way here, having been bottled only two or three weeks before. The hop experience on this thing is intense, complex, and pungent. It hits all those beautiful notes you want in a balanced IPA -- the bitter pine, the fresh grass, the sweet citrus, everything. If it's that good from a bottle at the three-week mark, I'd expect this cask to be somewhere in the vicinity of mind-blowing.
Charleston Beer Exchange keeps on truckin' at 14 Exchange Street downtown.