It has been another great week of beer news, and we might as well wrap things up by enjoying a Whiter Shade of Pale White IPA from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) in this week’s segment of Tasting Notes.
Whiter Shade of Pale White IPA comes to us by way of Starr Hill’s All Access Series, a line of some of the most unique and exciting styles from the brewery. For Whiter Shade of Pale, Starr Hill brewers have brought together the best qualities of the American IPA (HOPS!: Falconer’s Flight, Simcoe, Cascade and Columbus) and Belgian Wit (Belgian yeast and wheat malt) styles to create a refreshing hybrid ale that is perfect for summer sipping. If you would like to check this one out, this offering is available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft. The good folks at Starr Hill hooked me up with a bottle to try, so let’s crack it open for some Tasting Notes.
Tasting Notes – Whiter Shade of Pale White IPA from Starr Hill Brewery
Appearance: Whiter Shade of Pale hits the glass light orange in color with plenty of vibrant yellows bursting from the body once exposed to direct light. The body is lightly hazy, but mostly clear with a lazy carbonation stream running through the center of the glass. The pour yielded two fingers of bright white head in the Starr Hill branded Willi Becher glass (now available in their online store). The head falls slowly to a thin cap with just a few spots of lace clinging to the glass throughout the experience.
Aroma: Belgian yeast and wheat notes engage the nose first with fruity esters, spice, and touch of clove. Bright, juicy hop aromatics then take over with big time citrus qualities (orange, grapefruit, and lemon zest). Lovely, but not overly aggressive or overbearing. This creates a nice, harmonious representation of both the American IPA and Wit styles. I could smell this all day long.
Taste: Whiter Shade of Pale’s flavors begin just as the aroma did with Belgian yeast and wheat notes. Plenty of clove, coriander, and orange zest are the highlights at this point. Just as I begin to savor these classic Wit flavors, the hops move in with citrus and tropical flavors of grapefruit, tangerine, orange, pineapple, and just a touch of pine. The brew finishes with a bit of white pepper and spice to further marry the two styles. Just a wisp of banana glides through the experience at times as a nice surprise.
Mouthfeel: This beer is medium in body with a medium carbonation level. The brew displays a bitter hoppiness on the palate with just a slight sweetness. The hops have some stick to them and this allows their flavors to linger. Coming in at 7.5% ABV, this beer does have a touch of alcohol warmth to it, but it is easily under control. Aftertaste is all citrus and tropical hops with just a touch of white pepper.
Final Thoughts: Frankly, this is a beautiful beer and it is easily the finest offering I have had from Starr Hill to date. That says quite a bit because they have yet to make a beer that has disappointed me. Whiter Shade of Pale White IPA just comes together effortlessly to highlight the best of both the IPA and Wit styles, and I cannot help but believe that this beer came out exactly as the brewer had hoped and imagined. It is no wonder why it won gold at the 2014 World Beer Cup in the American-Belgo-Style Ale category. Seriously, do yourself a favor and give Whiter Shade of Pale a try when you see it. Prost!