It's time for another entry in the Summit Unchained Series, and for the 21st brewer Gabe Smolley has done something very unusual. It's called US & Them, and it's actually two beers made from the same runnings, using the parti-gyle style. They're calling the two batches "1st thread" and "2nd thread", and they're both being packaged together in the 6-packs, giving us 3 of each. I'm down to my last two, so it's review time. But, which one do I drink first? The bigger, stronger first version, an American India Pale Ale, or it's weaker, thinner, brother from another running, the Session IPA.?
That seems backwards, so I'll do the opposite. The mash, by the way, was based on Summit Saga, according to an interview with Gabe, though the 6-pack holder copy merely refers to it as "De-constructing the mash of a classic Summit recipe."
And away we go, with Unchained 21, Second Thread. 55 IBU, 4% ABV.
Crystal-clear, bright golden hue, brilliant ivory head, leaving lace, looking great.
Aroma bursts with citrus hop notes, lemon and orange, with hints of pine.
Taste: Nice hop buzz hits the palate first, fiercely bitter and generously citric. Bitterness clings to the top of the mouth and hangs on the palate, slowly subsiding. It's lean and clean, but powerfully bitter and plentifully flavorful. Refreshingly delicious.
As for First Thread, it's 90 IBU, and 5.5% ABV.
Clear, bright golden, with a subtle amber tint, lacey white head.
Clean aromatics, some floral, some citrus, but not quite as loud and bold as in #2, oddly enough. Oddly flavors emerge, though, honey and pear, a whiff of apple.
In the mouth: full of citric hop bitterness, vibrant, not quite astringent, very lively. Long-lasting hop bitterness clinging to the palate. Emerging sweetness mixes with the bitter. Medium-bodied, long hoppy finish. Tasty, tasty. I do like this, quite a bit. My kind of IPA.
Tonight's beer & food pairing: leftovers. Just as good the second time around!