Ya gotta really dig the whole retro throwback package that this brew presents. The label design is clean, simple & fun (after all, they've do have a jackalope on the label here) and the stubby bottles give off the feeling that you're drinking something from Michigan (in this case Traverse City) for Michigan , not national, brewery that your grandpa used to swear by before progress and commodification made it closed it's door for good. This looks a bit darker than usual compared most IPA's that get poured into the glass around the Smashin' Transistors digs.
Quite a dark amber shade to it. The head is light and study taking it's time to melt away leaving a thick and sticky lacing behind. The scent is very earthy with pepper with a burst of lemon peel.
A tart hop bite jumps out a bit in the first sip. Though it is definitely a Michigan take on the IPA style with it's grassy & pine notes nuances there are things about the particular bitters here that might remind some of an ESB. The malt backbone stands strong bringing a smokey & toffee meatiness to the affair. This medium body brew finishes with a nice mix of the flavors about. Bitter but not too sticky.
I've turned some of my fellow IPA pals onto this after stumbling across it last month and all of them have agreed that it's unique in it's approach with comments like "It's like they pushed it as far as they could without it being considered a DIPA" to "One of the best IPA's I've ever tasted."
I'm cool with turning them on to something that's new and brewed in this state but also worrying that now that others are discovering it'll be harder to find in this city where craft beers are already hard to find (well, except for Bells but you can find the even in the giant grocery stores now). The store where I initially found it at has been out of stock of it for a couple weeks now. I had to drive 45 miles to score this particular 6 pack. If it wasn't for that I'd already be considering this one of my "go to" IPA's.