Last Saturday I promised my readers – all five of you – that I would be doing two Six-Pack Saturdays in a row. Well, being a man of my word, I present to you the last Six-Pack Saturday of November!
This week I will be imbibing Summit Brewing Company’s Horizon Red IPA, which was featured in a Winter Sampler I picked up. Before diving into the basics, it’s worth noting that the Winter Ale, which is also present in the Winter Sampler, is excellent.
Summit Brewing Company, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, was founded in 1986, by Mark Stutrud. Since their opening, Summit Brewing has won multiple awards, including the Silver medal in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category, at the 2012 World Beer Cup.
Summit has 14 beers currently in distribution. The Horizon Red IPA is available year-round, with a 5.8% ABV. It’s a hybrid beer, with characteristics of the traditional IPA and Amber style ales.
The Horizon Red IPA, being an IPA, has a lot of hop in its step. This is apparent the moment the beer hits your tongue, with that famous hop-bitterness making an appearance. This bitterness is very short-lived though, with a surprising amount of citrusy and a pear notes stepping in. This was even detectable through the aroma of the beer. This quality not only made the beer stand out in the ever-growing sea of available IPAs, but made it much more enjoyable than most. I was not expecting such a strong pear and citrus flavor, but was pleasantly surprised by it.
Being an IPA, I expected the Horizon Red IPA to not go down without a fight. Again, I was pleasantly surprised in this department as well, with the beer going down very smooth. Not once did I find the drink to be too bitter or heavy, and not once did I struggle with drinking it. It went down smoother than most IPAs and, despite its very fruity flavor, appeared to have little added sugar (if any). Overall, it was a very easy to drink beer with no undesirable after-effects.
At this point it should be obvious that I loved this IPA. This is hands down, one of the best IPAs I have ever had. It’s far from traditional but never claims to be. The hops are present but never overstay their welcome, unlike many other IPAs I’ve tasted. The citrus and fruit flavors are a nice touch and set this beer apart from any others in its category. I would wager it’s in a league of its own. Fans of traditional IPAs, I strongly recommend you give this one a shot. To those of you who don’t enjoy IPAs, I still recommend this one, as the hops are nothing to be afraid of here. This beer stands fine on its own and pairs very well with sausage and other red meats.
Mark Stutrud made the risky decision of pursuing the art of brewing over completing his master’s in social work. After tasting this beer, I’m glad he did.