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Beer Reviews

Double Fist

Revolution Brewing
Chicago, IL
USA
http://revbrew.com/about/about-us

Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 8.0%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)


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When you think of the short term history of Chicago’s craft beer scene, you probably think Goose Island—now fully owned and debased by AB-InBev—and suburban Two Brothers and, if you really stretch the definition of suburbs, Three Floyds. But one of the little known—and, seemingly, lesser remembered—breweries in Chicago’s pre-nascent (natal?) craft beer scene was the now defunct Golden Prairie Brewing.

While Golden Prairie disappeared years before I became a craft beer aficionado—known colloquially, at least here at the offices of 1 Dork Plaza, as a beer dork—I did have the pleasure of sampling one of their beers before they shuttered their doors. I don’t remember which one it was, but it was light (for a craft beer), crisp, and shockingly delicious. It didn’t instantly turn me into a beer dork after the first sip, but it was one of the first of many experiences to come that showed me there was a wonderful world of flavors out there beyond the one-dimensional blandness of macro-brewed swill.

Unlike most of the non-sequitur openings to my reviews, this one actually has a point. Without the short but meaningful existence of Golden Prairie Brewing, tonight’s featured beer may never have been made. One of Golden Prairie’s first apprentices was Josh Deth, who, after nearly 15 years of tireless effort, finally opened Revolution Brewing in the über-hip Logan Square neighborhood in 2010.

Revolution’s logo sports a rough-drawn fist, which is presumably the inspiration for tonight’s beer, Double Fist, a beer they call a “double pale ale.”

Double Fist pours a gorgeous dazzlingly clear gold, with a thin, snow white head. Wafts of grapefruit, a touch of strawberries, and syrupy malt greet the nostrils as I lean in for a sniff.

Right off the sipping bat, I’m hit with some rough, almost metallic hop bitterness, suddenly giving way to a cloyingly sweet malt middle. As the sip matures, more bitterness fights back with sometimes harsh dirt-like notes. Despite this, the finish is surprisingly long and sugary sweet. At times, especially after the beer warms up, I get a snap of alcohol at the back of the sip.

While its light color and body hearkens to a pale ale, Double Fist, with its giant hop profile and eight percent ABV, is really an imperial IPA, and an unbalanced one at that. There is some malt in there as a counterbalance to the harsh hop bitterness, but the sugary sweetness tends to clash rather than complement the rest of the beer.

That being said, I like what Revolution did here. They didn’t hold back, and set out to make something that would stand out from an increasingly crowded double IPA scene. In that they succeeded. Fans of big, brash IPAs may like this one better than I did. For me, it was just a bit too overwrought.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on April 29, 2013.
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