Green Flash West Coast IPA was a real gateway IPA for many people, myself included. The beer had a special taste to it, the labels were immediately recognizable, and even the bottles were unique, imprinted with the Green Flash logo. Apparently sales have not been as good recently, so the brewery has opted to re-launch this beer with a new label, and even a brand new recipe. Moreover, it’s apparently been bumped up to a DOUBLE IPA. In short: the Green Flash we’ve come to know and love is no more, replaced by this incarnation. Was this a good move? Was it necessary? I’d say, both those questions are debatable.
For a start, I don’t really think the new label is an improvement. It definitely contains more information than its predecessor, but I feel the logo treatment has not been improved. So from a design perspective, this was not a step forward in my book. Also, for what it’s worth, the “Enjoy By” section of the label had no date stamped on it.
I liked two-thirds of this beer. Let me explain. It smells nice, but having IPA’s from the likes of Lawson’s, Lagunitas, Hill Farmstead, the Alchemist, and Ballast Point in my recent olfactory memory bank, this is underwhelming. Grapefruit and pine with a hint of sweetness, but it doesn’t beckon you into the glass the way a Double Sunshine or a Sculpin does.
The best part about this beer is honestly the promise of hops right as you take a sip. It’s there, dancing on your tongue, some juiciness in the mid-palette, but the finish falls a bit flat in my book. There’s a piny, even slightly chalky bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste which I, frankly, don’t like. Maybe this is an East Coast vs West Coast thing, but the flavor profiles and especially that chalky finish aren’t my cup of tea.
IPA’s are a category so thoroughly explored, experienced craft beer fans know what they like and what they don’t. I like my East Coast IPA’s better. I’m actually surprised no brewery on the Atlantic seaboard has snapped up that name for one of its beers.
It’s been several months since I had West Coast IPA 1.0, but I honestly think I preferred that incarnation to its re-launched cousin. It’s not a massive step backwards like New Coke, but it’s not a huge leap forward either. It’s a solid IPA, top 30% maybe, but greatness eludes it in my book. Tinkering with your flagship offering is always a risky move, and while this wasn’t a disaster by any means, it wasn’t a homerun either.