By Iron Chef Leftovers
For the first couple of years of their existence, NW Peaks resisted brewing IPA’s, becoming the sort of anti-Northwest Brewery. They really had no reason to – they brewed some great beers in styles that were not always common, using different ingredients. That has slowly changed and NW Peaks threw its hat into the IPA arena first with the Challenger IPA and now with the Luna dIPA – their first crack at a double IPA. In NW Peaks fashion, they couldn’t just brew any old double IPA, they went out and brewed one using all Southern Hemisphere hops.
From the NW Peaks Website:
The name. The mountain. Luna is the center mountain of the Northern Picket range, arguably the most remote and inaccessible are of the N Cascades (along with the S. Pickets). There really is no good approach; any choice involves a lengthy slog and bushwhack. For those that venture into the area, the rewards are worth it as you are surrounded by gorgeous environs with a feeling of isolation. Since Luna Peak is the center of the N. Pickets including Mt Challenger (the namesake of our IPA), it was a perfect name for the bold and big double version of the style.
The Beer. Luna IPA is a beast of an IPA coming in at 9.5% ABV with about 3 pounds of hops per barrel. Luna starts with melon and tropical notes dominating the hop aroma and flavor. This leads to a crisp, hoppy bite, but one that doesn’t overwhelm your senses. Luna fermented dry (for the style), but the malt backbone, sweetness of the fruity hops, and alcohol warming support the hops harmoniously. The resulting beer is a great interpretation of the style that features unique hops, a full flavor profile, and pleasant drinkability.
The beer pours deep orange in color with a nice white head. There are strong notes of grain and citrus on the nose with hints of mellon and notes of wood. The beer starts off on the palate with just a touch of grain before moving quickly int a significant profile of mellon and tropical fruit with a hint of sweetness, reminding me of eating a juicy cantaloupe. The finish brings additional flavors of pineapple and passion fruit with a tiny amount of bitterness that lingers for what seems like forever and brings just a touch of warming heat from the alcohol. The beer is incredibly well balanced and different, its complexity hides the fact that this beer is a monster and you can easily drink 2 or 3 in one sitting without feeling like you have killed you palate like with most double IPA’s.
NW Peaks Luna dIPA sends Alice to the moon with 5 Pows! Right in the kissers out of 5.