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HopScotch/Bottle Logic Railroad Tie Smoked IPA

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This BierBuzz Review is for the collaboration between HopScotch Tavern located in Fullerton, CA and Bottle Logic from Anaheim, CA called Railroad Tie Smoked IPA! 

This is a unique beer, defined as a Smoked IPA, a combination of styles that I’ve never had the fortune to try!

Statistics:

HopScotch Tavern/Bottle Logic

2nd Anniversary Railroad Tie Smoked IPA

Smoked Beer/India Pale Ale

7.5% ABV

Bottle Looks: 

The label on this is a solid blend between the old-timey eclectic style of HopScotch Tavern and the cutting edge, scientific look of Bottle Logic.  The label highlights the unofficial logo of HopScotch Tavern, a classic big wheel bike, with a set of railroad ties and a train engine.  For those of you who don’t know, HopScotch Tavern is located at 136 E. Commonwealth Ave in Fullerton, California.  The building is the only stand-alone building in downtown Fullerton and was originally the home of an electric train station.  This bottle seems to fit in perfectly with HopScotch’s style with its western fonts and burnt orange color that instantly attracts the eyes when looking at a fridge full of different beers. 

The Visuals:

The beer pours a beautifully clear deep golden under a fluffy white cap.  It is flawlessly clear and leaves a perfect ring of bubbles after each sip.  Tiny effervescent bubbles continued to propagate from the bottom of the IPA glass throughout the tasting and review of this beer. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1974.JPGThe Scents:

There is a bacon-like smoke to this but it is fairly restrained when compared to other smoked beers.  I’ve had classic rauchbier and other smoked beers that seem to be over smoked; the smoke aroma on this is controlled in very good balance with a healthy dose of Citra hops.  

I had to know more about how HopScotch and Bottle Logic achieved the smoke aroma in this beer so I talked to Elizabeth Boyd, the General Manager of HopScotch.  The process was unlike anything I’ve ever heard; they cold smoked 15 pounds of Citra hops!  Cold smoked?! I was officially intrigued.  HopScotch captured the smoke from their massive smoker and pumped it into a closed vessel containing the hops. This was allowed to sit and cool, letting the hops pick up the aroma of oak chips and light campfire without destroying the delicate floral and citrus aromas from the hops themselves!  Well done… creative and inventive to be sure and a successful application of a great technique.  

While there is a great smoke aroma to this it is still an IPA. The citrus aroma from the hops comes through strongly.  The malts come through with a slight bready note and a touch of residual sweetness. There are very little fermentation characteristics in the aroma of this beer, which is good because the smoked malt and cold-smoked hops are the showcase of this beer. 

The Flavors: 

As was the case in the aroma, the smoke comes to the forefront but is well balanced with the flavor and bitterness of the hops.  The malts are a supporting backbone but there aren’t any real malt flavors that are contributing in a big way with the exception of the smoked malts that Bottle Logic used. 

There are smoked beers that are like chewing on a charcoal briquette (Stone and Alaskan beers come to mind), but that’s not the case for this beer.  It is much more subtle but as this beer warms up, the smoke aspects become more prevalent. b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1992.JPG

The hops contribute a citrus and resinous note; both are very clearly recognizable as being perfect for the IPA style. There is a slight alcoholic note from the beer but it is within style and adds a nice punch to this, bringing out the flavors more clearly.

The bottom line for this beer is the flavor is clearly an IPA with an added smokiness and not a smoked beer that is highly hopped!

The Feel:

Railroad Tie is one of those beers that hangs on the palate for a while.  Like a campfire causing your clothes to smell for days, the hops and smoke will hang out on your taste buds well after each sip is gone.  The body is medium with a moderate carbonation.  The finish is dry and almost has a discreet astringency to it. 

The Breakdown:

This is clearly an IPA with a smoking problem and not a smoked beer with a hop problem!  I’m thankful for that too because I’m not a huge fan of smoked beers, I will drink them, but they often aren't in my top selections for ordering or buying.  They typically have too much smoke that overpowers any other potential aromas or flavors. 

There’s one major problem with this beer – it’s a limited release.  This beer was designed as a joint venture between HopScotch and Bottle Logic for HopScotch’s Second Anniversary on November 16th.  Last year, for their 1st anniversary, Hopscotch not only made a different beer, they even worked with a different brewery!  This is the epitome of a limited release and therein is the issue.  This is a beer that I see myself wanting on specific occasions like having friends in town who want to try something different.  I love this beer, but I’m going to have to stockpile the last couple of 22 oz. bottles that I have of it!b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1981.jpg

This beer is available while supplies last.  It is sold at HopScotch Tavern on tap and in 22 oz. bottles as well as the Bottle Logic tap room. I highly recommend everyone check it out while they have the chance because it is fantastic!  The best way to enjoy this beer is going to HopScotch Tavern because while you’re there you can get some amazing food too! There will be a full write up on the HopScotch Tavern in the future because it is worth more than just a single sentence in a beer review! 

Railroad Tie Smoked IPA is a solid 8.0 out of 10!  In the creativity department the idea of cold smoking hops is a homerun and the backbone of the IPA is recognizable and fantastic!  Get one of these while they’re still available!

 

About HopScotch Tavern:

Established in 2012 HopScotch is located in the vibrant area of downtown Fullerton in the former Pacific Electric Railway Station.  HopScotch features all the warmth and charm of a rustic lodge with exposed wood trusses, original wood form cement walls and a bar made from reclaimed whiskey barrel staves.  With a full menu of spirited interpretations on New American classics and an inspired selection of craft beer guests feel at home in HopScotch’s unique and comforting surroundings.  Visit them at 136 E. Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA.  Check them out online at their website www.hopscotchtavern.com, Facebook and Instagram at /hopscotchtavern!

About Bottle Logic: 

Established in February 2014, Bottle Logic has been brewing up classic examples of beers in addition to a rotating variety of experimental brew in Anaheim, California.  With their recent Gold Medal from the Great American Beer Fest in the Dark American Lager Category, Bottle Logic is establishing itself as a top tier brewery.  The brewery, located at 1072 N. Armando Street, Anaheim, CA, includes a state-of-the-art taproom with staff that help to enhance the customer’s knowledge and appreciation of high quality beers.  Check them out online at www.bottlelogic.com, on Facebook and Instagram at /BottleLogicBrewing!

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