The quality of the beers produced by Golden Road has been a very divisive subject in the craft beer world. Beer drinkers were “upset” that the quality of the beer didn’t quite live up to the quality of the marketing supporting it. Golden Road heard the rumblings and made some changes in the brewhouse. These changes lead to some new beers and some tweaks to the original line-up. This is my first Golden Road review for one of these new brews.
The 2-Row pale malt body takes a backseat to Citra, Centennial, and New Zealand hops for a bright, citrus forward, summertime drinking IPA. A portion of the proceeds from this beer will be donated to our hardworking friends at Heal the Bay, a local organization committed to protecting the Southern California watersheds.
The beer pours a foggy golden-yellow color. Copious amounts of bubbles push up towards a large foamy white head. Lacing leaves rings around the glass after each sip.
I usually take my first sniff of a beer while it’s still in the can/bottle. Heal the Bay had big bitter hops notes, with a touch of grass and pineapple while in the can. Once it was poured out these abrasive flavors mellowed a bit and were filled out in the backend by a touch of saltine cracker and sourdough.
And surprisingly the flavor was even more bitter than the aroma. Hard water, sourdough, and grassy hops were the foundation of this beer. Touches of tangerine and pineapple tried to mellow things out a bit, but weren’t as successful as I would have hoped. Sadly not that cohesive of an IPA.
The mouthfeel is rather light and bubbly. These bubbles coat your teeth after each and every sip. Considering how bitter and abrasive the aroma/flavor was I was pleasantly surprised that the beer wasn’t too dry.
While Heal the Bay IPA isn’t gonna dethrone any of the greats in the style, it is a step in the right direction for Golden Road. I’m always looking to support local breweries (GR is about 10 minutes from my work), so it’s a good sign that their output is getting better. I’ll keep supporting them in hopes that their next beer will be the one that truly blows my mind.
Overall: 6.5 out of 10
As an IPA: 6 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Golden Road POINT THE WAY IPA, Surly ABRASIVE ALE, Stone RUINATION IPA,