Reviewed: Kern River Just Outstanding IPA
Product description: Named after a local mountain bike trail, this India Pale Ale has a large malt character and a huge hop profile. We Dry hop this beer with Simcoe and Amarillo hops to give it that great floral aroma and citrus finish. If you like India Pale Ale you’ll find this one Just Outstanding.
Kern River Brewing – Kern River Just Outstanding IPA – 12 oz. can poured into a tulip – 6.8% abv.
My jaw dropped when I saw Just Outstanding in cans at my local beer store. Packaged 5/16/17 according to Sharpie marker on the plastic can carrier, this was only a week old when I picked it up. Contrary to its competitors, Kern River went for 12oz vs 16oz cans while still asking $14.99 a sixer. But this beer is worth it.
After a few sips, I don’t think the recipe on this has changed one bit since I first tried it in 2010. Until now, I only saw this in single 22oz bombers, which isn’t a great format for stocking the fridge with your favorite IPA. So, I’ll admit, I have not had this beer very recently.
Just Outstanding is fully hazy, burnt orange in color with enormous, rocky, yellowish foam that erupts and rises out of the glass. There is impressive head retention and gobs of lacing left on the glass as you indulge. The aroma begins with crème brûlée, caramel, vanilla, fresh orange, red mango, fresh mint, and ripe strawberry. It’s an amazing mix. There’s a super soft water profile to this beer with a silkiness and heavy mineral character. Flavors intermix with caramel dessert and fresh bread juxtaposed with ruby red grapefruit and bitter orange peel. This is a nice throwback to the original chewy, caramel-balanced, old school IPAs – and the execution here is top-notch.
Richer dessert flavors and moderate kettle hop bitterness are well-integrated here: no over-the-top IBUs, no reliance on aroma hops, and the ABV remains well-hidden. There is a firm body, excellent balance, and just like I remember this beer from seven years ago, it comes across as the “perfect” IPA. There isn’t anything cutting edge here, but this is a recipe that has stood the test of time. Just Outstanding has to be on my list of favorite IPAs and really is one of the classics in my opinion. I usually pass this up in stores because of its old bottle format, but with the new can format, the game has changed.