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Beer Reviews

Myrcenary Double IPA

Odell Brewing Company
Fort Collins, CO
USA
http://www.odells.com

Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 9.3%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)


Comments:
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Vacation 2013 once again took Nigel out West, and I feel it’s best memorialized by a series of reviews and articles that will take at least eight months to complete due to the fact that I never have time to write anything anymore.

On second thought … forget it. Nobody wants to suffer through that again.

Vacation 2013 was another outstanding trip, similar to the 2011 version as we headed to the American Southwest. This time, however, we didn’t follow Route 66, nor did we spend but a quick night in New Mexico (we did hit Santa Fe on the way home … couldn’t resist the call of green chile). We spent three nights in Vegas, giving the better half a chance to see the most overdone, overpriced, and pointless place on the planet Earth for the first time (Nigel was there twice previously and is still not a fan). We spent six painful hours driving through Nebraska, got to tour the southern part of Wyoming a year after touring the northern part (not as scenic), and saw some beautiful country driving through Utah. We spent a week in the familiar confines of the greater Phoenix area, and then popped a flat tire in “No Man’s Land,” crossing the border from the Oklahoma panhandle into southwest Kansas. Spend nearly two hours stranded in Rolla, Kansas and another hour at a tire shop in Hugoton, Kansas, and you’ll quickly appreciate life in the Midwest … at least parts of the Midwest that are actually populated.

As was the case with the two previous road trips, we brought back a haul of beer not found back home, a mix of our Western favorites as well as some new treats to sample. We may have outdone ourselves this year, as the day after popping the flat on the Kansas border, we woke up in Salina, Kansas to find our trunk wouldn’t shut. The fact that we were hauling seven six-packs, six four-packs, six bombers, as well as a cooler full of assorted singles, not to mention two weeks’ worth of luggage and plenty of souvenirs, surely didn’t help. Fortunately a pair of needle-nose pliers got the latch back in place, and we returned to frosty Wisconsin with plenty of malted barley and hops.

One of the selections hauled home was Myrcenary Double IPA from Odell Brewing Co. Odell is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, and checked in at number 44 on the Brewers Association Top 50 Largest Breweries list for 2012, down two spots from the previous year. While overshadowed by their craft neighbor in Fort Collins, New Belgium Brewing Co. (number 8 on the list, making them essentially the fourth largest true craft brewer), Odell has made a name for themselves with a similar formula, namely hop-centric ales that are distributed to a large portion of the U.S., though still not Wisconsin.

Odell IPA is considered one of the best examples of an American IPA by many craft beer drinkers. I’ve had Odell IPA on numerous occasions, both out West and in neighboring Minnesota, where it’s widely distributed. It’s a solid version, but I’ve had better … I would have to classify it as somewhat overrated. Myrcenary is Odell’s take on the Imperial IPA, named after myrcene, which is an essential component in hop oils that help give hoppy brews their distinct flavor and aroma. Odell claims that they brewed Myrcenary to accentuate all the characteristics that make hopheads such as Nigel salivate.

Myrcenary pours with a creamy head about a half a finger deep that slowly dissipates, leaving a noticeable lace throughout the session. A cloudy, golden brown color with little sediment, Myrcenary is not overly intimidating for an imperial IPA at first sight. By no means is that an issue; rather I enjoy the fact that it looks crisp, clean, and refreshing.

The aroma is a bit hard to decipher at first. My initial impression is that it’s too acidic and slightly stale. With the senses churning, the various aromas become clearer, first with a noticeable citrus profile of orange zest and grapefruit. Some spicy notes come through next, followed by a distinct earthy undertone as well as the occasional hint of evergreen. All of these various aromas combine to create a unique scent that is not overpowering and reminds me of fresh asparagus. Yes … asparagus. Call me crazy, but I’m telling you … it’s there.

Initial flavors are heavy on the hops, with noticeable bites of pine combining with more earthy, resinous hop notes to give it a well-rounded hop profile. Add in some nice balance with tropical fruit (as with the aroma, mainly zesty orange and grapefruit) and well as just a slight hint of alcohol (not surprising, as it checks in at 9.3 percent ABV) and you have a complex, yet drinkable imperial IPA. There’s a malty backbone as well, which helps mute the overall bite of the hops at times and helps prevent the other flavors from becoming overwhelming. For a 9.3 percent hop behemoth, Myrcenary is surprisingly drinkable, with a smooth mouthfeel and only a slight aftertaste. The strength will quickly remind you that it’s a brew to be enjoyed in small doses should you forget. That having been said, it’s an imperial IPA that you could easily find yourself drinking more than one of over the course of the evening.

Myrcenary has plenty going for it, but ultimately this is a four-mugger in my book. Balanced and approachable, yet with some complex flavors and aromas, it is an excellent take on an imperial IPA and another top-notch example of a Western brewer knowing their way around a hop cone. However, it doesn’t do quite enough to stand out from the crowd to hit the top rating. It’s certainly worth a try for any hophead traveling west; according to their web site, Myrcenary is available year-‘round and four packs can be located at most retailers that have a good selection of craft beer.

Cheers!


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on May 6, 2013.
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