Reviewed: Modern Times Critical Band
Product description: Our latest rotating seasonal can is a delightfully crushable IPA packed with Denali, Ekuanot, Citra, Simcoe, and Centennial hops that come together in a symphony of tropical, citrusy beer-magic that’s totally going to make your world a better place to live.
Modern Times Beer – Modern Times Critical Band – 16 oz. can poured into specialty glassware – 6.7% abv.
I grabbed a 4-pack of 16oz cans of this beer from the brewery six days after it was canned. Critical Band is a departure from MT’s other hazy IPAs as it has their core and seasonal lineup can design as opposed to the eccentric, custom artwork made for each of the special release, brewery-only released hazy IPAs such as Attack Frequency, Centaur Gardens, Underworld Dreams, et al. In fact, this is their official fall seasonal release. Oh boy.
Critical Band tastes like the culmination of all of MT’s lessons learned from their experimental series of special release hazy IPAs. Critical Band is possibly the best of all and is coincidently the first to be offered in wider retail distribution.
The beer is glowing, opaque pineapple juice in color with thick, lasting meringue foam on top. The aroma is dessert-like with pineapple upside down cake, piña colada, touches of guava paste, and fresh sourdough bread. The mouthfeel is fluffy like angel food cake with flavors of pineapple juice and vodka-soaked cantaloupe. There is mild chalkiness (typical for hazy IPAs I find) as well as a mild hop bite that simply balances rather than making a statement. The IBU level on the can states 60, which is higher than I would have guessed. Some of these NE IPAs are even 0 IBUs! There is also a fair amount of sweetness to give the beer supreme drinkability and let the tropical flavors really pop. But everything is in perfect balance. The grain bill works perfectly with Marris Otter coupled with oats and wheat for body creaminess. The palate is probably the most impressive part.
Overall, this beer is exceptionally well-done and incredibly refreshing. The beer tastes extremely fresh and the end result is a masterpiece of the hazy IPA style. Usually, these unfiltered, yeasty beers are plagued by heavy minerals in the palate, but this one pulls it off very well without any distracting elements. In my opinion, this is the best, most complete of the Modern Times hazy IPAs. So, you are all in luck. You no longer need to head over to the brewery itself to taste the best of what MT has to offer.