Westbrook Brewing Co.
Mt. Pleasant, SC
Shane’s Big DIPA
I’ve provided plenty of coverage this month on Shane’s Big DIPA, the new imperial IPA concocted by Westbrook brewer Shane Cummings. After being tapped at the brewery, reviews slowly began to trickle out and with it the hype train rolling along. COAST’s Boy King has pretty much been the undisputed … well, king of DIPAs coming out of SC’s Lowcountry. But now, there may be a challenger waiting in the wings.
Bottles of Shane’s began rolling out to markets early last week after being bottled on March 14. With just about a week of age on it – this particular bottle was 9 days old – I decided to tuck in this weekend and see what all the fuss was about.
The nose is a hugely wet, dank hop aroma. There’s this luscious blend of tropical fruit notes including papaya, pineapple and orange. There’s also that sticky resinous hop aroma that adds to the richness of everything else going on on the nose. The sweet malt notes blend in perfectly as well and provide a good balance. As it warms, it develops a sort of acetic quality with just a hint of onion and a bit of grass. But what could be an off smell is again reigned in by those juicy sweet aromas.
The taste and mouthfeel of Shane’s is this incredible mix of juicy fruits, biting hops and smooth, sweet malts. There’s just a mild, tingling hop bitterness on the front of the tongue that’s tempered by the hugely juicy fruit flavors. It’s almost like a juicy fruit salad. Mango, papaya, melon, pineapple, orange and citrus notes all flood the palate. On the back is this kind of tart lemon zest hoppiness that lingers really nicely on the finish, as well as a dry piney hop note. Those oniony characteristics come up more and more as it warms, but it’s never strong enough to be off-putting.
One of Shane’s biggest selling points is just how incredibly smooth and drinkable it is. It hovers just near 10%, but like Hopslam, it’s so smooth and drinkable it’s hard to tell. The flavors glide effortlessly across the palate and end on such a smooth, clean note. It’s so rich and flavorful and really masks the alcohol, which is clearly there, but not as strongly as you’d think. That’s the sign of a quality, really well-crafted DIPA.
As I remarked on Facebook during the weekend, everything I’ve heard about Shane’s Big DIPA was true. It’s full, immensely flavorful, incredibly drinkable and just a damn good beer all around. It’s certainly one you want to drink as fresh as possible, although I’m not sure why you’d want to wait much longer to try it.