Oh, Revival, your wonderful brews and charming character won me over long ago. Though I’m reviewing yet another hoppy beer, I’m cutting this one some slack for being much more chill and stylish than most others of its ilk. The refreshing new breed of fruity/sweet IPAs has gotten me back into the style after I developed severe Cascade Hop poisoning in 2017. That was a dark year.
HAMR, by Revival, is called an Oceanic State Pale Ale, whatever that means. I recently had to accept New England Style IPA as a legitimate style, and now we’re badly defining the pale ale genre even more with “Oceanic State.” Is that any pale ale made within a short drive of briny beaches? Or is it specific to states that embrace their aquatic heritage more wholeheartedly than others?
Brewmaster Sean Larkin’s quote on the can is a paraphrase from Jaws, and the label is reminiscent of the original Jaws poster, but with a hammerhead shark closing in on a pin-up swimmer. I sincerely hope the proportions are not meant to scale, or else that shark has a bite radius of my freaking car. Wait a second … I recognize that swimmer in distress. That’s not the Night Swim ‘Ah, it’s Helena! Only she changed her hair a bit and ditched the goth look for a more ’60s Beach Blanket Bingo bikini.
Certain folks thought this might be a shot fired at Narragansett, but I don’t think that’s the case. I could be wrong, but I have my doubts that the two companies would be at odds after such a successful history together. Of course, I’m not privy to the dirty behind-the-scenes secrets like I used to be, so hell if I know.
But how silly of me. How does the bloody beer taste, you ask? It pours a light sandy yellow with dominant citrus hop notes; this makes me inclined to believe this is a New England Style IPA after all. But because it measures at a modest 45 IBUs and 4.7ABV, I can see where it’s a bit more mellow. It certainly evokes many wonderful summery aromas and flavor without overwhelming the palate. The interplay of the various hops is quite complementary, bouncing from one fruity note to another and leaving a surprisingly sweet aftertaste with just a little dryness on the end. It’s a perfect warmer weather beer, being sweet and crisp without the hop overload so common in even the most mundane of pale ales.
I often wonder if the flavor is the result of experimentation and the beer theme developed after, or if the design of the beer is intended to fit a certain theme and tweaked until it’s just right. Whatever the technique, I sincerely hope they never stop.