Pyramid Breweries Thunderhead IPA - A Microbrew Review
Here's a real nice microbrew that's relaxing enough on the palate yet moderately challenging to the taste buds. I'm from way back east here in Pennsylvania but was lucky enough to snag myself a bottle of a longtime Washington state favorite microbrew from Pyramid Breweries. Pyramid was originally established in Washington way back in 1984 as a very small Seattle-based microbrewery.
Pyramid Brewery beers are not all that available here in the eastern part of the U.S. but I did notice a few other Pyramid offerings in the cooler on my beer hunt excursion tonight. I picked their Thunderhead IPA as my sampler for the evening out of the several Pyramid beers just because the name sounded cool, the label stood out and I typically like IPA's.
Pyramid Thunderhead did not disappoint either. I cracked and poured the 12 ounce bottle into my 10 ounce pub glass and was greeted with a fiery copper toned ale bursting in bubbly carbonation with a respectable 1 finger egg white frothy head that stuck for several minutes. The clarity was surprisingly clear, no haze and bubbles dancing eagerly.
This microbrew aroma offered much of the typical when it comes to an India Pale Ale. Fruity and pungent grapefruity citrus, just a mild hint of piney esters in the far distant background. Fresh and crisp came to mind from the scent. Nothing spectacular but nothing off or out of place.
First few sips gave off a super hop bomb impression. I've had quite a few IPA's in my time and like them very much but this beer was awesome. Very fresh flavor for being trucked across the country from the West Coast hoppy beer headquarters. The hoppy bitterness was surprisingly smooth and sweet at the finish of the swallow. There's some respectable malt backbone in there and a coating of piney oily aftertaste that left me sucking in my cheeks well after the swallow. A salty residue stood present acting almost as a chaser. This IPA makes you want to take another sip and fast.
Impressive doily-like lacing graced the beer mug walls and didn't go anywhere for the duration of the session almost like a skeleton of a beer long gone. Pyramid Thunderhead IPA was long gone before long.
This beer is very slick and easy drinking for how hoppy and bitter it is. I was surprised a little with how brewery fresh it tasted. The 6.7 percent alcohol by volume made itself noticeable but not so obtrusive as to distract or take anything away from the overall IPA experience.
I've had a lot of IPA's through the years. It's one of my favorite styles. While some might say this preference leads to biased reviews of IPA's, I think the opposite in that it makes me more discriminating as to what is or isn't a good India Pale Ale microbrew.
Pyramid Thunderhead IPA did surprise me with everything about it. I was wary at the start with the "twist-off" cap, but beyond that, this is one well built craft beer and an excellent IPA to boot. Fresh, smooth, well-balanced and representative of the style. The Washington, Oregon and West Coast microbreweries have a long standing history of producing some of the better bitterly hoppy beers and Pyramid Breweries Thunderhead IPA follows suit with some of the better that I've tried.
I'd recommend this microbrew and would personally pick up a sick pack if I could for a late summer event like a Labor Day picnic (when all your friends are drinking Coors Light). The only issue would be the higher than government issue 6.7% ABV that could get you in some trouble by beer number four or five. Watch it and enjoy Pyramid Thunderhead responsibly. I know I will! Cheers!!
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Cheers, and please drink responsibly!
india pale ale