Sometimes re-branding yourself can be the perfect way to stand out in a sea of competition. Humboldt Brewing Co. has been around for quite some time now, with ownership switching hands more than once over the course of the past 20+ years. Now that they’re back in control of their own fate (so to speak) they decided that an image overhaul would be right way to go. And I agree. It got me to take notice, buy their beer, and thus write this (positive) review.
Our rad IPA is created from a base of Pale and Crystal malts and aggressively hopped throughout the brewing process. Its caramel malt presence is a nice balance to the high hop bitterness and hop flavor end to end.
Nectar IPA poured a copper/orange marmalade color with a off-white head. The head was just a small amount of film, but it did leave behind a surprising amount of lacing for the style. The beer itself is quite clear with a smattering of bubbles floating throughout.
The nose starts with a pleasant blend of sweet malts, grassy hops, and saltine crackers. A second wave then comes through with notes of piney hops, alcohol, and a touch of molasses. As the beer warms this second wave becomes more dominant.
Sweet piney hops and molasses are at the forefront of the flavor. The sweet malts I detected in the nose pop up here as mid-drink filler before finishing with a mild woody/earthiness. These flavors along with the trees on the label really add to the sensation of sipping a beer in a redwood forest.
Mouthfeel is light in body, but very dry. The beer finishes almost instantaneously, but leaves those hoppy clingers all of us IPA drinkers know about hanging around the inside of your mouth. This abrupt evaporation of the liquid is out of place on a “smaller” beer like this and would probably be the biggest knock against it.
I must admit that Nectar IPA caught me off guard. I had tried some of Humboldt Brewing Co.’s stuff before and wasn’t blown away, but decided to pick this one up since I was in an IPA mood. Low and behold, Nectar IPA turned out to be a well done West Coast-style India Pale Ale. Everything about this beer screams trees and forests, and I appreciated that as a fan of both hops and hiking the many trails around Los Angeles county. Nectar might not be ready to overthrow any of the IPA overlords, but it’s definitely a solid choice if you’re in the mood for hops.
Overall: 8 out of 10
As an INDIA PALE ALE: 8 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Ska Brewing MODUS HOPERANDI, Odell IPA, Great Divide TITAN IPA,