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Tomorrow afternoon marks the glorious return of Palate Fatigue Double IPA. Clocking at 8.4% ABV it’s the strongest IPA we’ve made. Fermented with London III yeast and then dry hopped with an absurd amount of Vic Secret and Azacca hops. Aroma is intense peaches, mangos and pineapple. 16oz cans available starting at 3pm on Friday, December 21st in the tap room. Kegs will roll out to all Houston area account tomorrow.
At the end of 2017, Eureka Heights introduced Palate Fatigue, a double-dry-hopped IPA designed to wear you out. To me, that means big alcohol content, subtle tropical notes, a fair amount of dankness, and a piney finish that rides out for a while.
There has been a fair amount of discussion in the craft community about what consumers want. But ever since the West Coast IPA became the most popular craft style, it seems nothing has changed too much: Beer drinkers still want hops. For a little while drinkers were really into putting every high ABV IPA in a 22-ounce bomber, but that shifted. Then the New England IPA exploded a few years back, and while I might think it's hit a plateau, it's still extremely popular. Session IPAs grew in popularity and remain healthy in Houston. Now it's the Brut IPA.
Sense a theme? The hoppy IPA still reigns, in all its variations, and Palate Fatigue is one of the many out there. As it promises, it rides dank hoppy flavor and grassiness, with just a hint of juice. It's piney, and that maturity lingers just a bit. It's a double, as double as double gets, a pretty dead-on interpretation of the style.
Last week, I wrote about Buffalo Bayou's More Cowbell, and how it turns expectation on its head. Well, Palate Fatigue is the opposite. It's exactly what you'd expect. I took one look at the beer and knew what I'd be drinking. And it was just that.
In that sense, Palate Fatigue is perfectly acceptable. If I'm in the market for a craft double that defines what we think of as a double IPA, this is a good choice. It doesn't have the stalwart simplicity of my favorite go-to DIPA, Sixpoint Resin, but it'll do just fine.
But I wonder if a beer like Palate Fatigue might get lost in the shuffle. We love our hops, but that means every other beer in every taproom has Citra or Azacca or Simcoe. At what point do we just forget most of these DIPAs and NEIPAs and Session IPAs and Bruts that we've been drinking?
Or should that even be a problem? Shouldn't beer just come in and out of our lives, here for the moment but not for the long haul? And in that case, shouldn't Palate Fatigue be celebrated for being the most DIPA beer for that moment you just want a straight-up DIPA?
But that's what makes beer so fascinating. Nobody can say what is truly best for any one person, because everyone interprets beer in their own way.
Explanation of ratings: 9.5-10: as good as the best beer in America; 9-9.4: the best beer in Houston; 8-8.9: among the better beers in Houston; 7-7.9: really good beer; 6-6.9: try this beer at least once; 5-5.9: if you’re stuck, this won’t hurt; 3-4.9: among the lowest-quality beers in Houston; 0-2.9: as bad as the worst beer in America