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Tuesday, December 11th 2012

Burning Bush Smoked IPA
(Golden Road Brewing)

Wow, a "Smoked IPA"! Definitely a first in my book and perhaps the first version of this "style" that I've ever seen. As much as I'm leaning towards being a bit apprehensive, I'm also quite excited to try something that sounds so unique and new. Burning Bush is Golden Road's second release in their "Custom IPA" series. This was also their fall "seasonal" which ties in with the name of the beer and the can design. It was first released as a draught-only offering during the breweries opening celebration last year. Yeah, hard to believe that they've only been brewing for just over a year.

From the Golden Road site:

"Brewmaster Jon Carpenter had a vision so absurd in scope that it took his brew team tasting the finished Burning Bush to believe that his revelation was divine. The first known Rauch IPA to our knowledge, Burning Bush uses the smoked malt characterized by a traditional German style Rauchbier with the hops of an west coast IPA. This deep copper colored ale has a light smoky aroma that sits atop a generous floral and piney hopping. At 8%, it’s difficult to taste the alcohol in this smooth-drinking IPA. With its wispy smoke character, Burning Bush is also an incredible complement to grilled foods."

Here we go...

Pour – golden peachy in appreaance with a nice clean and clear hue as well as a half inch or so of white head. Leaves some nice lacing as it fades.

Aroma - stick a nose in a glass of Burning Bush and you'll be left picking out aromas for awhile. The first thing that hits the senses is a combination of sweet citrus and a campfire. The smokiness is there but not overly assertive in the aroma. It's amazing how much piney hoppy aroma this is packing but never without that smokiness coming into play in the background. As a fan of both rauchbiers and big hoppy IPAs this is really a treat to take in.

Taste – one sip and you know you've gotten the best of both worlds. My palate instantly starts picking out the smokey malt flavors that swirl around inside my mouth and begin to dry out my tongue while at the same time there is a barrage of big citrusy and piney hop flavors. This is all backed up by a good deal of regular malt sweetness as this is weighing in at 8% - but you'd never know it from the way it tastes. I love the flavor combination here. The hops are big and bold and the smokiness is at a level where its not overpowering but very, very present. This is delicious and unique and my tastebuds aren't all that sure what is going on - but they do know they're quite happy to try something so new and exciting!

Overall – holy sh*t! This is a beer like none other that I've had in quite some time. At a time when most beers are placed in specific categories it really is nice to try something that is both unique and ridiculously good. It should be interesting to see if other breweries try something similar as this is one of the best new beers I've had in a long time.

Notes - the design on the can, and everyone of Golden Road's cans, is from a picture taken by a local photographer. The Burning Bush can features an image of the Griffith Park (a large municipal park in Los Angeles) wildfires that took place in 2007. It is certainly a striking image for a can of beer and really shows how far we've come with the art and design of today's cans. 

Hops Scale:
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Campfire Scale:
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Burning Bush
Style: American IPA
Brewery: Golden Road Brewing
Los Angeles, California  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: 2-Row, Victory, German Rauch, Munich 120L
Hops: German, Northwest, & New Zealand Varieties
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 70
Date: December 11th, 2012

Posted by Russ

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