8/30/23: HighGrain Brewing Company's Tipper

2:56 PM

Possibly my favorite kind of beer for summer months is a spruce tip IPA. Not sours nor lagers (although I drink both styles during the summer, too!), but this very specific adjunct IPA.

A can of HighGrain's Tipper.

I've only had a few IPAs of this style in the past (and I wrote about one over seven years ago). Seriously, these are things I encounter with great infrequency. Imagine, then, my surprise at finding a single can of one at my local bottleshop. I picked it up without knowing anything about it other than the brewery (which I've had before and have featured on the blog). Figuring that I love the this kind of beer and can appreciate the brewers, I bought the can. Today, let's see if HighGrain's Tipper is what I'm hoping for from one of my favorite styles.

HighGrain's based in Silverton, OH, a Cincinnati-area village just minutes up the street from where I used to live when I lived within city limits (and damn near Krimmer's Italianette, the area's best pizza joint). The brewery's housed within an old police station, which has been retrofitted to make might fine, environmentally-conscious beer.

When I say "environmentally-conscious," I mean it. On HighGrain's "Sustainability" page, the brewery details all the thought and planning they've put into creating an eco-friendly brewery. From receiving electricity from renewable sources, to planting a native plant garden and crafting carbon-neutral beer, they're good people doing good things.

We're pulling our details on Tipper from Untappd (since I can't find anything official on HighGrain's website). It's a 5.5% IPA that's brewed with a healthy, 30-pound heaping of spruce tips picked fresh from the Cincinnati Nature Center. The Untappd profile for the beer also states that (much to my dismay) it's a "limited-time-only" deal. Bummer.

So, sure, the limitedness of the ale is a bummer. Know what's not? It's bouquet. First up here is a hefty hit of maltiness, which brings to mind a Märzen. This is, of course, a mixture of biscuits, toffee, and fresh bread notes. Layered with these are piney-quality hops and the definite pine notes from the ale's spruce tip adjuncts. Purrl loves this nose as much as I do; she gave my can twenty-eight whiffs.

Purrl cat sniffing my can of Tipper.

Tipper's flavor is like nothing I've before experienced. I get pine/spruce immediately, followed closely but the biscuity, toffee-like, and bready malt qualities I mentioned above. This is all coupled with big juicy fruity tastes that were completely hidden in the bouquet. These surge as almost taffy-like flavors of banana, pineapple, passion fruit, mango, and lemon. They come damn close to overwhelming those good malt flavors, but don't quite manage the task, and, instead, pair with them nicely. The spruce returns in the IPA's finish, and sits perfectly with the malt and the fruit.

I'll say that my can specifically calls its content's "spicy." I don't get much in terms of spice here. Maybe a smidgen of black pepper. 

Each swig of Tipper begs for another. I'm sure the ale's robust, almost creamy mouthfeel has something to do with this.

Summer's finally dwindling, and fall's nearly here. Yet, if I sit on my porch at night, it's almost as if I can still spot the last few lingering fireflies, like they're just out of my periphery. 

When we lived in Athens and I worked at Kroger, I'd walk to and from work. My route was mainly situated on the bike path that stretched along the bank of the Hocking River. I'd usually work in the evenings until my department closed before walking home after dark.

Since the path wound along the Hocking, the trees were always alight with fireflies. They'd pulse at random, providing a summery ambience to my trek back to our apartment, the warmth of their glow contrasting against the cool breeze blowing from the water.

In truth, though, this season's fireflies all departed weeks ago. Summer's coming to a close (only three weeks left). I'm happy to have a beer like HighGrain's Tipper to see it out with. The ale's a 10/10 and the best, and most intriguing, beer I've had in quite some time.

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