This is my first beer from Anderson Valley Brewing Company, and what a good way to start. This limited release Imperial IPA is a very attractive beer: starting with the label, carrying over to the pour, and finishing with an empty glass. It is a solid representation of the style and especially the region, as that part of the country is known for its abundant hop supply.
This Imperial IPA pours a deep orange amber with a decent amount of head which dissipates quickly. There is a bit of lacing left on the glass as you work your way to the bottom. It has a light, sweet, and piny scent, reminding me of the Pine Barrens in South Jersey. There is an unexpected breadth of flavor derived from the loads of malts which are trying to balance out the hops. This also contributes to the 8.4% ABV which is evident in the taste, even with so much flavor working to cover it up. When you take a sip, your mouth is immediately coated in a thick and lasting resiny sweetness. After you go through the piny slip-in-slide and sweet malt gauntlet you arrive at a sharp finish - one not so much bitter as a sensation that makes you immediately want another sip to quell that sticky feeling in your mouth.
This hearty ale is one I would love to try on draft, although I doubt it will be coming our way. I am definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for more of Anderson Valley's Finest. Cheers to a beer that exemplifies American hops and West Coast brewing!