before that I was a bit surprised at the beer selection here in the south,
especially in Georgia where I’ve lived for nearly a year. It has been much
better than I expected, though I still have a hard time finding stronger
styles like double bocks, strong Belgian ales and imperial stouts. I was
reminded of how much I missed the latter when I sipped a few of them at
Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, Rhode Island a few days ago.
Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about finding hoppy, delicious India Pale
Ale thanks to Atlanta’s wonderful Dogwood Brewing Company and its
fabulous Breakdown IPA. Breakdown is available year-round and is a
malty-hoppy treat that rivals the best of them. It’s a classic example of
the quality of brews being produced by what I consider to be Georgia’s best
bottling brewery by far.
This is classic American IPA and is a great complement to many foods, but I
like hoppy brews with spicy foods more than anything else. Breakdown washes
down tangy Buffalo wings, spicy Cajun, blazing Mexican or infernal Indian
equally well. A pint of breakdown and a plate of nachos loaded with
jalapenos is a match made in heaven.
Breakdown could well be described as hop soup; it’s positively bursting with
multiple varieties, more than three pounds per barrel produced. Magnums are
added early in the boil for bittering, then Vanguards, Liberties, and Ultras
join in later to impart aroma. The longer hops are boiled with the brew the
more alpha acids are extracted and the more bitterness they will contribute.
Shorter boiling times bring floral aromatic flavors. Of course, certain
types of hops have higher alpha acid contents than others while still more
are better known for their floral character, but the time they are added to
the brew is all important as well.
Breakdown is dry-hopped with whole-leaf Goldings. This is a process where
the beer rests on hop flowers during fermentation and/or aging. It tends to
impart floral notes but not bitterness. Hot wort is passed through a hopback
(basically, a bed of compressed hops); in this case the hops are Crystals.
Dogwood Breakdown IPA pours to a cloudy orange color with a thick, creamy
head formation and a hoppy citric nose. The body is firm and malty with
plenty of delicious chewy, toasty caramel notes. Slowly, the beer segues
into a peppery, citric grapefruit character that becomes increasingly bitter
right into the intense finish. A grassy, lingering bitterness is present on
the tongue after sipping.
This is truly a hophead’s IPA, and it’s a steal at about $5 a six-pack.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.