Got Beer? Rhode Sodah

I admit, I haven’t been a very good friend to Newport Storm lately. I don’t call, never write and usually when I’m in the area I’m pouring beer from a different brewery. It’s shameful how often I’m leaping over the bay and completely passing by my old friends. My malty infidelity aside, I noticed an interesting-looking item on the shelves recently. When I spotted the Rhode Sodah sitting there calling to me, I thought this would be a good chance to make it up to my old Coastal Extremist friends.

The first surprise is that it comes in a 16oz can, which is new for a Newport Storm brew. The can reads almost like someone wrote the Got Beer? article for me, talking about bursts of juicy hops and taking issue with the style name “session IPA.” Yeah! Stick it to the man! Style guidelines be damned, let’s make something flavorful, unique and impossible to categorize!

Just, whatever happens, let’s agree not to go completely crazy like Magic Hat and start adding beet juice. Brewing freedom is one thing, but this is not Vietnam — there are rules.

The beer itself is a fine amber-gold, nicely carbed and quite refreshing-looking for these warm August days.

The hop aroma seems surprisingly subdued, just barely registering nice crisp notes. Flavor wise, I can see why they wouldn’t want to call it a session IPA. It doesn’t quite fit the mold. While the hops are certainly there, and it’s light enough in body and ABV to qualify, to me it seems more like a unique pale ale. It’s made with El Dorado, Citra and Equinox hops, imparting an almost nectar-like floral vibe beneath the surface of some crisp, slightly citrusy notes.

It’s funny, because I wouldn’t sip this beer and think session IPA, necessarily. In truth, I’d see it almost as a significantly more interesting American Amber Ale, or a creative twist on a British-style IPA using vastly different hops.

I suppose it does qualify as a session IPA, technically, but it’s not the flavor you’d expect. The hops are so chill and mellow that extreme hop-heads might be turned away, which might be for the best since the alpha-acid addicts are getting a bit high and mighty. In truth, I get more sweetness than bitterness from this brew, which isn’t a bad thing …  unless you’re one of those lame conformists who think movie reboots are a good idea, network television shows are groundbreaking and Rob Schneider is funny.

So with sledgehammer in hand ready to toss at the giant viewscreen tuned to the political conventions, we must remember that individuality is good, pantsuits are bad and never let yourself get put into a category based on other people’s opinions. Hmm. Did we just get a bit symbolic?

Anyway, I really should cruise over to Newport again soon and see what they’re cooking up down there. Any brewery that throws caution and style guidelines to the wind already has my attention, and so long as they don’t break my heart like it’s been broken before (looking at you Magic Hat), then perhaps I can take the chance.

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