Backcountry Brewing’s Texas IPA Goes All In On Grapefruit.

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 Brewing’s Texas IPA.img_3591Fast Facts on Backcountry Brewing Texas IPA.
Style: IPA.
ABV: 7.2 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 70.
Color: Deep gold.
Availability: Cans.

In case you were asleep when we last reviewed a Backcountry Brewing beer, check out our review of Backcountry Double IPA. Spoiler alert: My first impression of Backcountry was absolutely solid! But a couple months ago, I picked up a four-pack of bottles of its breakfast stout and things got a little weird. I was super-excited to review that beer, except it seemed infected? Even after refrigerating the bottles for a week, I went two-for-two on opening the dreaded slow-gusher beer. So maybe I’ll circle back around on Backcountry’s breakfast stout some other time. For now, I’m focusing on a relatively new release from Backcountry called Texas IPA. The brewer states that this beer is brewed at its Rowlett facility, that it’s brewed by Texans, and that it’s only available in Texas. Kinda sounds like one of Martin House’s old T-shirt slogans! But let’s not knock Backcountry. It’s new around here.

Background on IPA.
For a primer on the IPA style, check out our review of Community’s Mosaic or OHB’s Derelict. Both of these beers are nice representations of the style. But know this: The IPA style is intended to showcase hops – it’s all about hops. Lately, the West Coast style of IPAs seem to dominate the space. But there’s also been a small growth in interest in the last couple decades with the hazy IPA style, a venerated style hailing from Vermont.img_3608Appearance.
Texas IPA pours deep gold into the glass. There is a moderate amount of medium-size bubbles in the head. I poured the beer rather hard to see what sort of foam situation would remain after it settled down, and I am good with the results. As I start sipping, the foam sticks around on the edges of the glass. The beer is slightly hazy right out of the can, but clears a bit as I near the end of my first beer.

Texas IPA is very much a hop-forward beer. I feel giddy as I take the first whiff – sorry, but I am a hophead after all. The first aroma I sense is grapefruit. It’s an almost catty bitter, just a bit skewed toward the pith and peel as opposed to the flesh. The grapefruit, while intense, doesn’t completely cover up the sweet malt and honey undertones.

I get grapefruit through and through in the flavor. There is a massive amount of bitterness that hits me right up front on the first part of the taste. It’s a sharp sort of bitterness, and my mind wanders to a hipster cocktail bar where someone has just peeled off a chunk of grapefruit in front of me. As the punch of initial bitterness fades, a more rounded grapefruit situation takes over. It’s sweeter this time, and it pairs up with a nice malt backbone to carry some sweetness through the aftertaste. The aftertaste is bitter and gnarly (in a good way), and the bitter hop aftertaste lingers through to the next swallow.img_3598Mouthfeel.
I feel somewhat distracted by all of the interesting hops in this beer. The intense bitterness masks the malt backbone and, for a 7.2 percent ABV beer, it feels like the beer is a touch thin. But as I work my way through my first beer, it becomes plainly evident that this beer lives up to its ABV claim. Maybe it could have been mashed at a slightly higher temperature to give the beer just a touch more body? The carbonation is medium, as expected, and it seems to crank up the dial on the bitterness. Overall, though, the beer is a pleasure to drink, and it feels right at home for its style.

Overall Impression.
The intense bitterness on Texas IPA was a bit of a distraction for me at first. But now that I’m moving farther in, my taste buds are slowly numbing, and I am enjoying it! There aren’t many DFW IPAs that go all-in with the grapefruit intensity like Texas IPA does — and, for that, I give it props. Grapefruit aside, this is a clean beer otherwise.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Backcountry Texas IPA a 7.img_3612 img_3614What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, November 18. NTX Beer Week Brewer’s Ball at Omni Dallas.
• Thursday, November 24. Thanksgiving Brunch at Meddlesome Moth.
• Saturday, December 3. One-Year Anniversary at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
• Friday, December 9. Second Anniversary at Panther Island Brewing.
• Saturday, December 17. Third Anniversary at Cobra Brewing Co.

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.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
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.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
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.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
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.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
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.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
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 Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
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.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 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 Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 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.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
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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