Alaska Brewing Company’s Icy Bay IPA leaves a lot to be desired.
Alaska certainly has its own culture of brewing, but in the modern day microbrew scene, dominated by places such as San Diego and Portland, Icy Bay IPA certainly won’t put Alaska on the craft brew map.
Brewed all the way in Juneau, Alaska, the Icy Bay is an India Pale Ale, although it’s quite a bit different than the average San Diego IPA.
Out of the glass and into a mug, the Icy Bay pours an orange, straw color. There’s a decent head on the beer that fades fairly slowly.
The smell is very faint, but what little scent there is is laced with pine notes, very little citrus, and a bit of floral undertones. It definitely smells a lot lighter than other beers of this style. But not necessarily just lighter. It comes across blander as well.
The taste is vaguely hoppy, but fairly underwhelming to someone used to West Coast levels of hoppiness. It has a fairly creamy mouthfeel, but little crispness. The aftertaste has more malt than is normal for a standard India Pale Ale. It’s drinkable if nothing else, but not really refreshing.
It’s not an unpleasant beer, but there’s nothing about the taste that particularly stands out. It could, pretty easily, be mistaken for a standard American lager that someone left a Christmas tree soaking in.
There’s little complexity or ferocity about the beer’s taste. It’s mediocre in a way that seems like someone up in Alaska had an IPA once and tried to replicate the style of it purely by that one experience.
Seasoned drinkers of San Diego IPAs will find Icy Bay a bit lacking in the flavor department. It’s a drinkable beer, maybe ever sessionable because of its smoothness and 6.2 percent ABV.
But for fans of the intense, pine-tree-in-your-mouth hop monsters of San Diego, the Icy Bay IPA comes across a bit too mild mannered.
Not great, not terrible; but sometimes mediocrity and forgetfulness can be worse than an epic fail.