It's #FloridaBeerFriday. Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft-beer movement of Florida.
This week, we're looking at the Last Stop IPA from Brew Bus Brewing, a company that owns and operates a small fleet of touring buses and contract brews with Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa. It's a mix of beer and tourism.
You may remember the Brew Bus from this summer, when we took a ride to see what all the fuss was about. It's a unique feature of this particular tour operator that they source a half dozen of their own branded beer, which not only accompanies each ride but is available at local stores as well.
The Last Stop IPA is Brew Bus Brewing's answer to the fruity East Coast IPA. Which, if you're a fan of hoppy beers, you've seen the style branch into two general ways of thinking about bitterness, falling generally into the same geography as the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop rivalry. On the one hand, there are big Pacific Northwest-type IPAs, focused on the piney, resiny, and dank hop varietals grown in Washington and Oregon. This was the classic definition of American IPAs for many years. The other side is the maltier and citrus-hop-dominated, East Coast-styled IPAs, which are generally produced on our side of the country.
Are these hard rules? Of course not, but it always helps to group similar styles together, and these sort of developed around a certain geography. But I digress; on to the beer.
Last Stop presents itself with a big, fluffy, white head and a superpale lager-like color. This is surely a beer of almost entirely base malts and seeks to be a pure platform for hops, of which there are plenty here. There is a big and prominent, unmistakable Citra aroma (which the website lists among Amarillo and Simcoe as its hops of choice for dry-hopping). The flavor moves from citrusy hops to a clean and minimal lingering bitterness that is only slightly dank. With an array of Magnum, Centennial, and Columbus hops for bittering, it's a veritable who's who in the lupulin world.
For the alcohol by volume of this beer, which is 7.2 percent, the body is surprisingly light and not at all malt-forward. It truly sits in my mind as a brother or sister to Cigar City Brewing's Jai Alai.
Last Stop IPA is available in 12-ounce cans at local beer establishments and on draft occasionally at fine craft-beer dispensaries.
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Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.