Reviewed: Belching Beaver Phantom Bride IPA
Official description: Named after the ethereal song by the one and only Deftones, Phantom Bride IPA is a blend of Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops delicately balanced for the perfectly drinkable mix of citrus and hoppy goodness. A truly original Deftones/ Belching Beaver collaboration envisioned by Chino Moreno and skillfully crafted by Thomas Peters. Sit back, put on your headphones and drink away. 7.1% ABV
Belching Beaver Brewery – Belching Beaver Deftones Phantom Bride India Pale Ale – 16oz can served in stemless snifter – 7.1% ABV
For the purposes of full disclosure, Belching Beaver in Vista, CA has been my most visited brewpub for the past several years. (Hey, I have to drink good beer somewhere!) And their best beer, or more appropriately, their most consistently excellent beer is Phantom Bride. I sang the praises of this beer already if you read my review of another Belching Beaver and Deftones collaboration, Digital Bath. Perhaps Chino Moreno, the lead singer for the Deftones, is secretly an IPA savant as everything the band touches turns to gold.
I grabbed a 6-pack of Phantom Bride from Trader Joe’s (unrefrigerated as always) to give as honest a review of this beer as possible. The bottom of the can has an easy-to-read packaging date of 1/11/19 putting this at less than three weeks old.
Pouring it into the glass, Phantom Bride is a slightly hazy, pale golden in color with larger, meringue-like foam that consists of far too large bubbles for this style. Usually, I’m looking for densely packed, nano-scale bubbles with an iridescent sheen from all of the hop oils coating the bubbles. This head looks more like soap bubbles with way too much air underneath. Head retention is poor, collapsing in less than a minute. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried Phantom Bride from a can as I usually have this on tap at the source. I’ll chalk it up to some sort of packaging issue as I haven’t seen this problem on the draft version.
But it’s all good news from there. The aroma is exquisite combining several of my favorite hop varietals into a juicy, bright bouquet. Juicy fruits like starfruit, honeydew melon, Reisling grape, and pineapple combine with sweeter white cake, brioche, and clear gummy bear for an inviting aroma. As the beer warms up, there is a waxing presence of sweet corn and wheat.
Diving in, the flavor is clean and quenching in a way that IPAs rarely achieve. Phantom Bride is extremely well-balanced with overall bitterness at a 5/10 and sweetness also at a 5/10. Juicy fruit flavors dominate with honeydew melon, lime, and pineapple. Moderate lime peel is just about all I get from the dialed-back kettle hops. After several sips, a prominent graininess takes hold with a raw, gristy character that may be off-putting for some, but I actually enjoy it. In the finish, mild acidity builds like fresh sourdough bread. It’s a beautiful effect. Not until I’m almost finished with the glass does the 7.1% catch up to me. Indeed, the higher ABV for this segment is remarkably well-hidden.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and truly believe this is the best beer Belching Beaver makes. Fans of modern, clear IPAs will rejoice. This may be San Diego’s best kept secret.
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