As I've mentioned before, one of the fun things about Craft Beer Week, is that you don't get to just try new stuff, but new versions of stuff you've already had. Breweries trot out special casks, special agings of beers, ingredients, etc...
One of the things I've always noticed with Parish Brewing, is that when it comes to their more specialty and seasonal brews, there's some variance in year to year, be it the Grand Reserve, their Farmhouse IPA or Dr. Hoptagon Black IPA. This week, over at Corporate Brew & Draft, I was able to try two different batches of their Ghost in the Machine IPA, which apparently varies even from month to month:
GHOST IN THE MACHINE
Welcome to the future.
Our collective human consciousness, or Ghost in the Machine, has gained a tolerance for hops beyond what mankind has ever known before.
This double india pale ale is the necessary outcome.
Available in 4pk 12 oz bottles and 1/6th bbl kegs.
Batch four, which came out in March, is on the left. The right is the May release, Batch Five.
Imperial IPAs just might be my thing, because this very much reminds me of the beer formerly known as NOLA's Mechahopzilla, and was incredibly enjoyable.
The bouquet is incredibly hoppy, but the flavor doesn't bash you over the head with it from the jump. It starts kind of malty and neutral, then slowly builds through the hops gradually. Think of it as a floral escalator. You get some of that spice, and that grainy texture, but not a lot of bitter. Just a hint at the end, that lingers a bit. For something with a strong ABV, it's a pretty good sipping beer. Although a pint of it might be a bit much.
As you can see from the picture, the second batch is much clearer in appearance, and that kind of carries through. The opening is a bit more neutral, with a little less texture and a bit more balance through the middle with the malts, but the same gradual build in the hops flavor. I guess if I had to pick, I'd say this one was better, but either way we're talking about a great beer. Both varieties get four stars.