West Sixth Brewing – IPA

West Sixth IPAMORE BEER FANS may know of Kentucky’s West Sixth brewing for their recent legal dust-up with Magic Hat than for their actual craft. Admittedly, their two logos were painfully similar and still are, but at least a settlement was reached with only feathers ruffled instead of bank accounts rifled. Word on the streets (of Lexington) is that a massive turnout–including private citizens’ petitions and alcohol vendors pulling Magic Hat from their shelves–helped effect a swift resolution that left West Sixth largely unscathed.

Fortunately, that’s not all the press that West Sixth has gotten. Their flagship IPA has won mad praise and is also Kentucky’s first canned craft beer. This tasting was drawn from the tap, though, at another local pioneer–The Village Idiot, Lexington’s first gastropub and a fine establishment in its own right.

American all the way, this IPA is hopped with four of the Cs–Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, and Citra in place of Chinook. Its color is golden, quite but not perfectly clear, with a creamy and semi-abundant head that settles nicely into a rim of lace. A promising pour. The nose is a bit dank at first, but Citra soon takes the lead with its characteristic allure of grapefruit and tangerine. Malt sweetness is a little elevated for an American IPA and provides a subtle but substantial backbone for both aroma and flavor. The body is medium to light despite the presence of several crystal malts, of which honey (presumably Gambrinus?) is especially notable. First discernible in the nose, it returns to blend with lemon in the aftertaste. It’s pleasantly level-headed compared to the typically bitter IPA smack, but there’s also a little too much water in the finish. Thus the final impression overall is less memorable than the first. The fairly elevated 7% ABV was surprising, too, as it is completely masked.

Yet strange as it sounds, it’s refreshing to see a brewery err on the side of caution instead of excess; despite their youth West Sixth have proven that they know “a little goes a long way.” It may not yet be ‘all the way’, but they’re off to a good start.

Served: On Tap (The Village Idiot, Lexington)

Rating: 88

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