Let’s be honest, here – the definition of “beer” is getting fairly batshit crazy these days.
In the last few months alone, I’ve probably received at least eight messages from Frank About Beer fans asking things like, “What would have been the pink smoothie-looking thing a guy a few seats down the bar was drinking?”
These beers are a bit whimsical and interesting but, admittedly, are sometimes gimmicky, kitchy, one-and-done beers. And even then, you may not have it in you to finish up the one pint.
One that I recently came across that seems to be knocking on that door was the IPA v.10 Vanilla Citrus from 7 Locks Brewing (Rockville, MD).
When I first heard about it, I thought, “Oh jeez – Creamsicle beer.” Everything about the description set this one up as yet another weird flavor experiment. So when I came across it recently at the brewery, I ordered up a pint with a big serving of eye roll when the beertender turned his back.
What appeared in front of me was a pint glass of clear, dark amber with good carbonation. Despite it being an IPA, I didn’t get much aroma, but its 6.0% ABV put the alcohol content right in the sweet spot of one.
“Alright, let’s give this a try,” I thought to myself, already prepping for the onslaught of syrupy-sweet, orangey-vanilla that was surely headed for my tastebuds.
Except, it wasn’t.
What I got instead was a solid IPA. There was a bit of mild citrus up front, with a nice level of orange and maybe a little lemon. This gave way to some hoppy bitterness, which dispersed pretty quickly. It was actually really good – but where was the vanilla?
In the next sip.
Sure enough, it took two or three sips, but there was a subtle, warm vanilla sweetness in the aftertaste!
Not only did I have a couple sips – I chased it with a couple more pints of it.
The thing that I liked about this was that it could have very easily gone all tacky, orangey sweet, but 7 Locks made it a quality IPA first and foremost. It tasted like beer – not something designed to be a brite tank beauty queen.
I’m hoping this one becomes a regular on the brewery’s tap list because this was a beer that’s definitely worth a taste if you come across it.