A guest blog post by Bill Fishburn. You can follow Bill on Twitter @rwfishbu1.
I found a bottle of HUB’s Pigwar at our local Safeway a couple days ago, and it’s been burning a hole in my fridge—to bastardize a common saying. I had a chance to give it a try tonight, and it was worth the wait.
As a BJCP Beer Judge, I have no idea what a “white” India Pale Ale is supposed to be. I’m guessing the breweries that make this style just want you to think it’s an extra pale IPA. Fair enough.
Pigwar, with what looks to me like a stylized drawing of Stalin as a pig, is named for a little-known 1859 “confrontation” between the US and the British Empire over the boundary between the US and British North America. You can Google it if you want all the details—remember, I’m a beer judge/engineer, not a historian. Mentioning it at all is only pertinent because the ingredients for this beer come from San Juan Island, and since the US got to keep San Juan Island, that makes Pigwar a “local” beer for us Cascadians.
Appearance: Hazy dark yellow or pale gold. Thin, white persistent head.
Aroma: Distinct aroma of apricots and some mild orange undertones, probably more like orange blossom than the actual fruit… but I’ve never smelled orange blossoms, so I’m just imagining here. Mild malt aromas are reminiscent of freshly baked white bread or biscuits.
Flavor: The initial, mild malt sweetness is followed immediately by an apricot-like flavor. The finish is somewhere between grapefruit-y bitterness and a slight pine-like flavor, and dry. As the beer warms, a full-palate swallow (full mouth, over the tongue, over the gums) leaves a hint of spiciness reminiscent of cinnamon, and likely a contribution of the wheat HUB uses in the grain bill.
Mouthfeel: The body is medium light with plenty of carbonation. There’s no alcohol warming, as is appropriate. The final sensation is very dry.
Overall: This is a really solid beer with a lot of appealing characteristics. At 6% ABV and 60 IBUs, it’s probably not the most seasonable beer around, but it’s still very easy to drink. Given the body and mouthfeel, I could definitely have a few of them during a hot day of lawn mowing. If you see it anywhere, grab yourself a few bottles and blame me.