Partly Cloudy, Solace Brewing Co. (Sterling, VA)

We’re entering a Second Summer of Hazy Beer.  Beer purists everywhere groan at the loss of clarity, all the insane adjuncts, and the complete abandonment of many fining techniques.  Screw ’em, this stuff is too good to care.  We in our fine Commonwealth are so blessed to have so many of our breweries at the leading edge of the craze that has grown into a phenomenon.  Personally, I hope filtering dies out in brewing because the beer tastes better without it.  If the day comes that we don’t need separate categories for filtered vs. unfiltered entrants of the same general style, then I’ll declare victory.  Until then, I’ll rejoice that folks like Solace keep making my Biergeist so effervescently happy with hazy beers like this one…which also happens to do that little double dry hopping bit that’s oh so hot this year…

Partly Cloudy, Solace Brewing Co. (Sterling, VA)
American IPA, 7.5% ABV

Presentation:  Crowler pour into tuplied pint glass.

Appearance:  A very good name, as you can see.  A touch of goldenrod over a golden straw core.  That super creamy head leaves well-defined swirls of lace even it’s not consistently a lattice ring.

Taste:  The nose is very mild, with fresh citrus fruits where no one profile really sticks out.  Thank the El Dorado hops muting the always popular Citra for that.  It’s as much crisp spring rain, with some late pine resin.  Your first sip suggests some lemon, others will bring out stone fruit.  If you’re looking for that “juicy” feeling, a good quick swig brings out the most of that sensation.  It’s not bitter, but you get a hop aftertaste the evolves well after your first sip.  You’ll notice some zest if you do tend towards the quicker sips, too.

Mouth Feel:  You pick up the most flavor in equal parts from your gullet and the tip of your tongue.  Those are both areas I don’t normally expect to locate an IPA.

Overall:  Keep it sacred, keep it fresh!  A fruit-forward beer that delights in ignoring your usual tasting schemes, which is part of the reason Solace is killing it with their hazy beers right now.  Partly Cloudy in particular is making its rounds through beer filling stations and tap lists throughout NoVA.  Even if hazy isn’t really your thing, this one is worth at least a taster…especially if you lead off your flight with it.  A nice briny Gose with some lime or agave nectar to it immediately afterwards will put a fairly content smile on your face.  If you do get a fill of it to go, in the name of Charlie Mopps drink it soon!

Score:  8.4

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