Flying Bison Buffalo IPA – 6.2% ABV
Every now and then I get the hankering to try something different. Being a malt-forward guy, I’m often somewhat iffy when trying pale ales, IPAs, sours, etc. I’ll try them, don’t get me wrong, but something with more body and a little more sweetness than bitterness is right in my wheelhouse. But since I am one to enjoying new things, I will throw caution to the wind and give it a go. Today we have Buffalo IPA from Flying Bison Brewing Co., based out of Buffalo, NY. In an effort to counter the tidal wave of hop-forward beers that are pervasive on the West Coast, they decided to do one of their own back east, in what they call “The West Coast” of New York.
Buffalo IPA is a combination of two IPA styles – English and American. They use English pale malts as a base, for a firm backbone able to handle an onslaught of hops. Then they use three different varieties of West Coast hops to counter the malty sweetness brought forth by those pale malts. First they drop in bittering hops to balance the malt, then more hoppiness comes by way of flavoring hops. As if that were not enough, when all is said and done they finally dry hop this already hop-heavy brew with Australian Galaxy hops to deliver a bright, tropical fruit bouquet. I poured this into a pilsner glass and got a look at the bright orange-amber color, plenty of bubbles, and the thick white head that rose to about 2-plus fingers. The aroma is sort of sweet and malty, but quickly gives way to a full, citrus hop aroma.
Getting a taste of this beer, right off the bat I sense that tinny, sort of metallic taste in my mouth, but only for a short moment. Good thing, because I’ve had long periods with that taste lingering in my mouth and it ruins the moment. Very quickly, the hops take over and leave my mouth with a sort of bitter taste in it, but not altogether unbearable. Pretty well-balanced, even for a dreaded IPA. To be honest, the bitterness is actually kind of mild, although the citrus aroma translates well into some citrus flavor. This has a pretty smooth mouth feel to it, which was a pleasant surprise as I was expecting something more tart and tangy. I’ve had some IPAs that leave me with that ugly contorted look on my face because I can’t stand the taste in my mouth. Not this time. It is definitely hoppy, but it is also bearable. This also has a medium body to it, so it is somewhat filling when consumed, but you won’t get the bloated beer gut after one of these.
Buffalo IPA is a fairly pleasurable take on a west coast-style IPA. It didn’t blow my mind like say a Heady Topper or Pliny the Elder would, but those beers are both top-notch Double IPAs and quite hard to obtain because of their excellent taste. For those in upstate New York, I’m sure you’re already familiar with Flying Bison. If you haven’t had Buffalo IPA, give it a try and just think of bright and sunny West Coast summer days, relaxing on the beach under the California sun while throwing back one of these. For you folks out west, I think your friends on the other coast are hunting for you. Cheers!