Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
Looking in my fridge this week, I noticed it was kind of baron. While I still had a trio of last week’s Thirsty Thursday selection from Evil Genius Beer Company, there was nothing new. Thankfully, I knew a friend of a friend was giving me some beer. It’s a long story but suffice to say I love when I’m compensated with beer, as it often allows me to try selections that might fall under my radar for one reason or another – and that’s exactly what happened. This week’s selection is Wolf Pup Session IPA from Golden Road Brewing.
When I received the 15-pack of cans, a unicorn by packaging standards, I knew very little of Golden Road. While I had seen a couple of their offerings from time to time, I had never tasted one of their beers. Owned now by Anheuser-Busch InBev, Golden Road was founded in Los Angeles back in 2011 by Tony Yanow and Meg Gill. At the time of the company’s sale back in 2015, it was the city’s largest brewery – and on pace to pump out 45,000 barrels that year. Today, the company reaches much of the United States, with an arsenal of what Golden Road calls 10 “core beers” as well as another 11 specialty efforts. It’s difficult to get an exact number of how many barrels the brewery currently produces but, in a recent interview with Brewbound, Gill said she’s eyeing making Golden Road “a one million barrel brand.” That means we should be prepared to see more of their beers in the future. Either way, it’s an impressive trajectory for just a seven year span.
As I picked up the pack and took out a can, I was immediately drawn to the label. It has a very Instagram feel, with purple, green and turquoise coloring and a couple of palm trees – a look that just screams California. There’s not much explanation of the beer on the can, other than to say it’s “refreshingly hoppy with a wildy aromatic citrus character.” That might really be all that’s needed for casual drinkers. If you’re not familiar with a Session IPA, it’s a flavorful, hop-dominant India Pale Ale that has a “sessionable” lower level of alcohol. Wolf Pup is 4.5% ABV – as well as 45 IBUs – and features Simcoe, Galaxy, Chinook, Mosaic and Ekuanot hops. Here’s how Golden Road describes this beer:
“Hoppy and refreshing, Wolf Pup is our riff on a Session IPA. Highly drinkable with a wildly aromatic tropical and citrus character, it’s the perfect companion to keep on sippin’ for those long, sunny days.”
Right off the bat, this beer caught my attention. I love the smell of it – exactly what I expect an IPA to smell like every time I pop one open. There’s a distinguishable aroma of earthy hops, pine and maybe just a touch of fruit, though I cannot quite put my finger on that, to be quite honest. Wolf Pup pours like a medium-bodied beer, with a decent amount of white head complimenting the gold color, which has just a hint of haze to it. However, I really wish the taste was just as awesome as the smell it provided.
The flavor is crisp and light, though it feels a little watered down. I know, I know, it’s a Session IPA but I just expected that it would provide just a little more dank hoppiness to it when pairing with the citrus. There’s also a hint of melon involved with the bitterness at the end, which lingers in a good way, of course. It’s a crisp beer. It’s a very drinkable beer. It’s a really solid session IPA. Would I have liked just a little more of the hops and citrus flavor to stand out here? Yes. But the more I drank it, the more I really started to enjoy the tone of this beer. Once it was finished, I wanted to have another!
Wolf Pup is a beer you could enjoy during a long day in the California sun, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not the best Session IPA I have ever had but I will certainly enjoy the entire pack – and perhaps save one or two for friends to try. It’s tasty and worth your time to give it a sample. Wolf Pup received an average score of 3.85 on BeerAdvocate and, as per usual, I don’t think that’s too far off. I give it a 7.4 out of 10. Now, I need to find some of Golden Road’s specialty beers. I have my eye on Pico to Mexico, a cucumber lime lager with a hint of habanero flavor. Please send some if you read this review.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.