Bodhi, the brewer's new Double IPA, might require a yoga mat instead of a bar napkin, First Draft columnist Michael Paull says.
If you think the path to enlightenment is lined with tangled hop vines as it cuts a path through fields of barley, Columbus Brewing Co. is now pouring your ambrosia by the pint.
Bodhi, the brewer's new Double India Pale Ale (IPA) named with the Sanskrit word for enlightenment, pours a beautiful sunset orange with a calm beige head and a strong citrus hop aroma. If you fill your glass with this strong, bitter brew, breathe deep, drink slow and relax. You A good crowd of beer-lovers turned out for a transcendent experience at the Columbus Microbrew Festival a few weeks ago, where CBC introduced this brew among taps from seven area breweries.
Double IPA is a hopped-up, higher-alcohol take on the traditional India Pale Ale, a strong, highly hopped beer originally developed for long shelf life during export to warm climates. Also called American or Imperial IPA, great examples include the continually hopped 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Russian River Brewing Co.'s Pliny the Elder.
Bodhi is a unique example of the style and hits all the right notes.
There is no doubt that the hops are the dominant flavor, and they offer a complex palate without becoming muddled or overpowering over the course of a pint or two. The malty backbone of the brew builds a bit as you drink, with a great pale malt sweetness balancing out the bitterest elements of the tart, lemony American hops. This is a big beer (8 percent alcohol by volume) but the alcohol heat is incredibly well balanced.
If you love hops and know your IPAs, Bodhi is not to be missed. The hop aroma is so clean, so strong and so distinct, you can close your eyes and picture yourself standing in a field of Cascade or Centennial hops warming in the sun while you peel oranges. Each sip is as herbal as the one before it, with a distinct hop flavor up front giving way to a smooth, refreshing bitter finish. Overall, there is just enough balance to keep you coming back for more.
CBC has crafted a very satisfying glass of beer to sip slowly. Its rich orange color, hazy finish and soft head ensure a relaxing brew after work or with a robust meal, and the powerful hop-forward flavor and aroma are strong enough for warm afternoons but balanced enough for cool fall evenings.
Bodhi is an indulgent treat for lovers of big, bitter beers, and might just be a malted barley awakening for those who try it. If you want to find out for yourself, your beer nirvana is the Columbus Brewing Co. Restaurant, where Bodhi is on tap ($5.50 per pint).
Michael Paull, a web developer for dynamIt Technologies, lives in the University District.