Another addition to the ever-expanding IPA market segment in Portland, Ice Axe IPA from Mt. Hood Brewing comes down of the mountain in bottles for the first time. However, this beer won't be competing for shelf space in your local Fred Meyer or Safeway. You'll only be able to find this beer at Zupan's Markets and Made in Oregon stores.

I recently received a sample of the beer and as you can see in the photo, it is a dark, caramel colored IPA. In fact, the color gives away it's secret on sight: in the wide range of Oregon IPAs, this is a malt-forward interpretation. While I do enjoy the occasional hop bomb, I much prefer the subtle complexities of a more balanced IPA. There are some very subtle floral notes, but the hops in this beer mostly come out as a bittering balance to the sweet malt bill. The recipe makes for a solid IPA and Zupan's has them for $5.99/22oz bottle. From the official press release:

"We're excited to be one of two retailers selling the exclusive Ice Axe India Pale Ale, a beer with a strong following and unique flavor profile," said President Mike Zupan. "This beer is local, just like we are, and we know our customers will appreciate finding this exceptional ale at all four of our Zupan's Markets locations."

Tasting Notes: Well balanced to allow the caramel of the malts to be up front with the subtle finish of hops added during the 120 minute boil.

Ingredients: Malts: Crystal, Munich, 2-Row Pale, Malted Wheat Hops: Centennial, Mt. Hood, Magnum, Golding, Willamette

Profile: IBU: 60 ABV: 5.7% ABVMt. Hood Ice Axe IPA