Pyramid Brewing – Outburst Citrus

Poor Pyramid. They used to be a staple of the PNW beer scene but they seem to be losing shelf space almost as quickly as they’re closing their Alehouses. Pyramid, along with the Widmer brothers, was best known for bringing the hefeweizen to the Pacific Northwest, as well as fruit beers with their ‘Apricot Ale’. You used to be able to find these beers in every store and gas station across the state, but these days they seem relegated, oddly enough, to specialty beer stores.

Compare and contrast.

If I had to mark turning point for Pyramid it would be back in 2008 when they rebranded their classic, familiar Pyramid logo for a pile of hot garbage. This was especially egregious with their flagship Hefe which they renamed ‘Haywire Hefeweizen’ along with a redesign that’s reminiscent of the worst of 90s fashion. That same year they shut down brewing operations in their home turf of Seattle, Washington, and they shortly started to disappear from store shelves.

 

 

So imagine my surprise when I saw a Pyramid beer at my local grocer’s for the first time in years. Surprise surprise, it’s another citrus forward IPA, this years most popular beer trend. What they’ve done is take their established ‘Outburst’ Imperial IPA brand and throw in some orange and tangerine peels for the citrus taste. Unfortunately it doesn’t work well, we’re dealing with an Imperial IPA here, you’re going to have to do more than that. What we end up with is a funky tasting, hop heavy IPA that is hardly reminiscent of citrus at all. Nothing about this beer stands out to me as unique, special, or even solid. A disappointing return from Pyramid, and I doubt I’ll even notice when it inevitably disappears as well.

Mouthfeel: Thin and hoppy

Aroma: At least a note of citrus here.

Hops: Standard, heavy hopped Imperial IPA

Je Ne Sais Quoi: Not deliberately offensive

Overall: C-

Full Sail Brewing – IPApaya

Citrus, tropical and fruity IPAs seem to have become a trend. The previous fads of the hopbomb IPA and the session IPA are slowly receding in the face of this new craze. While it has always been almost a matter of course to note the “grapefruit under/overtones” of an IPA, it is now something that is being consciously pursued by the brewers.

Full Sail Brewing’s IPApaya is being billed as a “vacation in a bottle” and at first this drink confused me. I associate the word “papaya” with a either a local sub-par thai restaurant or a hot dog joint that my New York friends wouldn’t stop talking about for awhile. The papaya itself is a fruit I have never tasted or have any preconceived notions of. Lets check it out.

This is perfect. The papaya perfectly illustrates my revulsion to fruit in general. Mishappen coloration of the shell, fleshy pulp underneath, some sort of curry/peanut butter cross breed in the core embedded with a multitude of pill bugs. Fruit is an edible horror I will never understand.

But not having any idea what an actual papaya tastes like leaves me pretty clueless as to whether this beer fulfills its mission or not. I suppose the damning note is I can’t detect a shred of anything unusual or unique about this beer that centers its identity around a unique ingredient. It’s a bit more citrusy than standard IPAs but that’s it.

All in all it’s a solid if unremarkable IPA which is rather damning given this touts itself as a rather unique beverage. I think this beer would have come across much better if it simply advertised as just another citrus or tropical IPA instead of trying to shoe-horn in some kind of unique identity

Or maybe I’m a complete idiot because I have no idea how a papaya should taste and pap-heads will go crazy over this beer. If you’re a pap-head and that’s your reaction… cool. I wish I could get that excited over this.

Mouthfeel: Appropriate

Aroma: Clean like a breeze.

Hops: There are definitely hops.

Je Ne Sais Quoi: Sadly misleading

Overall: B-