Backcountry’s Double IPA Is A Big, Boozy Taste Of The Rockies.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Backcountry Brewery‘s Double IPA.

 

Fast Facts on Backcountry Brewery Double IPA.
Style: Double IPA.
ABV: 8.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 85.
Color: Light caramel orange.
Availability: Seasonal (cans available in DFW).

Overview.
Backcountry quietly slid into the DFW Beer scene in early 2016. Hailing from Frisco, Colorado, this brewery opened a satellite location via purchasing the remaining assets of the closing Firewheel brewery in Rowlett in 2015. Ouch. It saddens me to see a DFW brewery close its doors; it’s bittersweet to see another brewery take its place almost immediately. So there is some silver lining here, I guess. So far, I have tried Backcountry’s Saison and its Double IPA. Both are good. This review, though, focuses on the latter. It’s also interesting to note that this may be DFW’s first satellite production brewery. I don’t want to play down the presence of BJ’s Brewhouse, Twin Peaks, Gordon Biersch, and other food-focused brewpubs, but those establishments represent something a little bit different.

 

Background on Double IPA.
This style is a cranked up version of the American IPA. What was once a sort of experiment from brewers trying to push the boundaries on what hoppy beer is or should be, the Double IPA has now come in to its own as a known and respected style. It is normally an aggressively hopped style, but without the huge malty grain situation of, say, an American Barleywine. There should be a prominent hop aroma on the nose, mainly from American and new world hop varietals to give it a citrus, stone fruit, or resinous character. Flavor should echo a lot of what’s going on in the aroma department. A grain note in the flavor is acceptable, but the malty notes should certainly not overpower the palate. Overall, this should be a beer brewed with a fairly simple grain bill, with a fairly dry finish.

Appearance.
Backcountry Double IPA pours a nice rich orange color in to the glass. I mean, you can drink this beer from the can, I guess. But why limit your sensory experience? In the photos here in this review, I poured the beer a little bit hard to see how the head would stand up. And it’s great! A huge, pillowy amount of foam stuck around for about 15 minutes while I shot these photos, and then it gently subsided and left thick, cobweb-like lacing. The clarity is good; it’s not super-duper crystal clear, but given a few minutes time, it comes around. This is an unfiltered double IPA; the brewery states that it’s trying to leave in all of the aroma and flavor goodies that a filter might otherwise take out.

Aroma.
This is a rather dry finish for a 8.9 percent ABV beer, so there’s not a whole ton of sugary sweetness in the aroma. And that’s a good thing, because the stone fruit scent from the hops shines through. There’s a big late hop addition in Double IPA that boosts the floral notes of the hops. I get a ton of mango, and a weird sort of bubble gum aroma. I suspect this is from the Falconer’s Flight hops in the late addition.

 

Flavor.
The citrus and mango notes continue through to the taste. There is a massive amount of bitterness to this beer, so it’s no doubt that there is a healthy grain bill playing second chair to help balance it out. This is not a bad thing, per se, but I do get a sharp, sort of bitterness in the flavor. It’s not like a metallic type of bitterness, but something akin to massive bittering hop flavor along with some ester sort of action. I don’t dislike the flavor, which I cannot quite pinpoint, but it’s not my favorite thing about the beer. Of big bitter IPAs available from DFW breweries, this sharp flavor is definitely a standout amongst its peers. The hop bitterness and floral notes hang around for a long time in the aftertaste. Make no mistake about it — this beer is big on the hops and is a near palate-wrecker, albeit in a good way!

Mouthfeel.
The mouthfeel here is spot on for the Double IPA style. If anything, this beer is deceptively smooth drinking. It’s bright from the carbonation, but not overly burpy. This body on this beer is also dead on for its style, and I find myself drinking this beer a little bit faster than I should. I don’t have to lick my lips of sugar in the way I find myself with some other bigger ABV beers.

Overall Impression.
For my first deep dive in to a Backcountry beer, I can say that I’m a fan. I think I like the aroma of Double IPA more than the flavor of it, but that’s me sort of splitting hairs here. If I would change one thing in this beer, it would be to round out that sharp bitterness that I get on the palate. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe the bitterness profile changed somewhere between packaging and my mouth. I can’t be for certain, but I’m ready and willing to crack another beer. I suspect that the floral character of this beer shines through even brighter when served on draft at the Backcountry brewery. DFW hop heads: give this gnarly double IPA a try. It’s a most-welcome addition to the local offering of big IPAs.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Backcountry Double IPA a 7.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, July 2. Red, White & Brew at Noble Rey.
• Saturday, July 2. ‘Merica the Beer-tiful Party at Texas Ale Project.
• Sunday, July 3. Metrofest Music Festival at Deep Ellum Brewing Co..
• Sunday, July 3. Red, White & Brew at Bitter Sisters (w/ views of Addison’s Kaboomtown).
• Sunday, July 3. Beer and Fireworks at Division Brewery.
• Monday, July 4. Taproom Opening at Wild Acre Brewing Co.
• Sunday, July 16. One-Year Anniversary at Oak Highlands Brewery.
• Saturday, August 6. Local Brews, Local Grooves at House of Blues.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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