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.
As I walked around the beer store aimlessly, I was unsure of what would inhabit my fridge for the upcoming weekend. I bought something pretty standard and then decided to head to the singles aisle and put together a six-pack of random beers that I have been meaning to try. While you might see a couple of those selections on future Thirsty Thursday columns, I decided to start with what I believe is the crown jewel of my selection, from a brewery I have never sampled in any capacity, Paradox Brewery’s Southern Hemisphere – a northeast-style double India Pale Ale.
A small little brewery tucked away in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Paradox was founded in 2013 by Paul Mrocka who fell in love with brewing during his time in Germany as an Army Pilot, who turned the company into a local brewery to New York and its surrounding states. Paradox has five core beers that are available year-round, including Southern Hemisphere, and several other efforts like an Off Trail Series and many specialty bottle releases. These various efforts have helped Paradox earn several major awards over the years, such as gold at the Great International Beer Festival.
Southern Hemisphere is 8.2 percent alcohol by volume, 91 International Bitterness Units and comes in a four-pack of 16-ounce pounders. It’s brewed with an abundance of Southern Hemisphere Nelson hops, typically found in New Zealand, for what Paradox claims makes it a bold IPA with underlying flavors of coconut, mango and white grape and notes of peach and nectarine, thanks to the brewery’s house yeast blend.
The look of the can is simple but somewhat eye-catching. It has a yellow and orange theme to it which, judging from the company’s website, might just be part of its overall theme. The middle of the label features Paradox’s logo, complete with mountains, which is underneath a tree line. It gives the ABV – which is, oddly, different than the website claims, stating it’s 8.0 percent – and advocates drinking fresh, driving safe and loving everyone. But the best part of the label, something so many other breweries lack, is that it gives an explanation to the drinker:
Northeast style double IPA brewed with loads of southern hemisphere hops for a big tropical fruit profile.
When I cracked the can open, I took a quick sip to get the freshest flavor. The smell of this particular beer wasn’t too potent and I noticed an aroma primarily of piney hops, with maybe a little hint of fruit – perhaps tangerine, but it’s hard to put my finger on to be honest. It poured like many other medium-bodied beers in the DIPA category, with a hazy golden color and small slight off-white head. There was a fair amount of lacing around the glass as well, which spoke to the solid carbonation of it.
The taste of this beer can be perfectly described in one world: bitter. Southern Hemisphere is abundantly bitter but its bitterness is done pretty well as it still has a wonderfully crisp flavor. The hop flavors, the fruit-like taste Paradox touted, gets slightly lost in the mix. It starts with a little fruit and ends with a lot of pine. And I’m cool with that. It’s somewhat drinkable though I think after one or two cans I would want to move on to something different, whether it was lighter or just offered a different flavor.
This single can of Southern Hemisphere was just under five bucks, so I would have to imagine a four-pack would be somewhere close to $20. That’s a little high but not an awful price for a beer of this caliber, which brings me to my scoring. When I looked on BeerAdvocate, I saw it had an average score of 4.11 and I’m not too far off of that, giving it a 7.8 out of 10. It’s refreshing and super bitter, which I love, though I think I was just hoping to get a little more of the hops’ juicy flavor in there. It’s still a DIPA that’s worth picking up – and certainly worth giving a try.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.