Stairway, Ocelot Brewing Co. (Dulles, VA)

“Stairway is so 🔥🔥🔥 right now.”

So read the 4-pack table at Ocelot’s third anniversary party a few months ago.  When you signed in and grabbed your beer and to-go tickets, they told you that once you were ready to check out, you could go pick an available 4-pack and waltz out.  I saw a few options and went up to snag one, only to encounter a finger wag.

“Not so fast.  Ticket?” said one staff member.  I handed it over.

“Here you go,” said the other, pushing across some Stairway.

“You mean we can’t pick anything else?” I inquired.

“NOPE!” he replied, and foisted more Stairway off onto the next reveler.

“I’ll be the judge of this,” I thought to myself.  A few days later I was butcheri…err, brewing a Pale Ale with a friend, and I got out a can to share.  11% at 11am is nothing to sneeze at.  And then…

Yup, Stairway is so 🔥🔥🔥 right now.

Stairway, Ocelot Brewing Co. (Dulles, VA)
Triple IPA, 11% ABV

Presentation:  Can pour into tuliped pint glass.

Appearance:  Really affected by the light, but generally a near-opaque goldenrod with bright lemon-yellow edges.

Taste:  It’s a great intro to Southern Hemisphere or “Pacific” hops and the deep ranging oils that are suggestive of stone fruits and coconut water.  The aromas are a much different kind of tropical than we’re used to with the Big C’s (Citra, Centennial, Cascade, etc.)  The body is more pine needles than a fresh essence, but with a touch of traditional grapefruit.  The finish may feel bitter to some, but “earthy” with a touch of lemongrass hits closer to home for me.

Mouth Feel:  Sip small, and almost slurp it as you would piping hot tea or coffee for the best livening effect.  It really plays off the sides of your tongue and mouth, and is neutral to most of your taste receptors – very balanced, in other words, despite the high gravity and IBUs.

Overall:  Yes, they said it was [fire emoji][fire emoji][fire emoji], and refused to let anyone pick different.  I had the nickname “Judgy” in college for a reason, but here I’m happy to eat (or is that sip?) crow.  Fresh is truly better with this release, but the cans will keep 4-6 weeks without losing too much of that juicy, earthy, tropical edge that makes it so darn good.  For Apollo’s sake, share your tallboy as it’s basically the effect of drinking three beers at once!  As with all Ocelot releases, keep this review in mind as an “if/when you see it,” because their beers are always rotating around the area.  TIPAs being a mini-trend right now, we’re hoping this one comes back sooner than most!

On another note, the anniversary party at Ocelot was a blast.  They had some outdoor vendors and a secondary bar, which really let groups pick a mellow spot or for singles to mingle.  A logistical hassle to be sure, but something that’s worthwhile for bigger events if they choose to repeat it.

Score:  9.0

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