Citrus and IPAs. This pairs better than an “I’m with Stupid” T-shirt and a New York Giants fan. Getting a fresh grapefruit or orange taste out of an IPA is one of the best things ever and is up there with puppies and Cadbury Creme Eggs. Burnt Hickory Brewing, out Kennesaw, Georgia is not afraid to do a little experimentation with hops and citrus and decided to brew an IPA with fresh blood orange rind. On paper, this beer sounds like a knockout, but there’s only one way to figure out if it’s Mike Tyson or Peter McNeeley. Let’s run them numbers…
Smell: Fresh citrus, hops, orange, freshly cut flowers, light malt, and slight pine from the hops. Smells very nice and is what I would have expected based off of the description of this beer.
Taste: It tastes like something very, very familiar, but I just can’t nail it on the initial sip. The first thing that I notice are the blood oranges in this brew. They are very apparent and Burnt Hickory does not at all oversell their use in this beer. They give a refreshing, candy like taste to the beer but are not artificial at all. You can taste the grove that they came from in here. I was worried that adding the orange rind in this brew would make it a little too bitter as the orange oils would destroy everything else in the beer, but they actually do a great job complementing the bitterness of the hops and the sweetness of the malt. At first, it takes getting used to as the first few sips hit with a large bitter charge, but after that the beer starts to open up. It has a very floral taste to it and it’s actually kind of hard to get much other than the oranges in this brew. The orange oils make the beer bitter and the hops are hard to pick up on underneath that, giving them a generic, mundane quality without much flavor. The malts aren’t very noticeable until the finish where some sweetness comes out to balance the brew, however they give the beer some depth.
The malts also thicken up the mouthfeel making it medium bodied for such a fruity and floral IPA. The ABV on Didjits clocks in at 7% even making it nearly impossible to identify any of the booze especially over the assertive blood oranges. This beer is drinkable, but it’s not as easy to get down as I initially expected. The beer packs a lot of acidity and you can feel it take a toll on your stomach after the first full glass. The hops mixed with those orange rinds creates a potent mixture that makes you hesitate a bit before diving back in, which is the biggest knock on this beer.
Overall: Didjits is a unique IPA for sure. The blood oranges leave their mark in the taste of this beer and accomplish what the brewers wanted, however the lack of complexity in here is a bit disappointing. The blood oranges dominate the flavor leaving little room for the hops and malt to show their talents. Additionally, the extra acidity from the citrus makes this a tough beer to come back to sip after sip. That said, the flavors are unique and this brew doesn’t taste bad at all, but it’s not among one of those IPAs I’d find myself coming back to. I’ll score this one a B/B- as there is room for improvement. This is one brew I’m not sure Iron Mike would bite the cap off of.