Reviewed: El Segundo Grand Hill IPA
Official description: Nothing but base malt, Big Bitterness, and a heavy dose of Amarillo and Centennial hops make this India Pale Ale a nod to what has made the California IPA what it is today. Bright flavor, notes of lemon zest in the aroma leads well into a base of pine and citrus in the palette [sic]. Hops: Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo.
El Segundo Brewing Company – El Segundo Grand Hill IPA – 16oz can served in Rastal Harmony glass – 7.2% ABV
Though Grand Hill IPA is new to me, it is not new to El Segundo. This recipe dates back to at least 2013. However, it isn’t as popular as their flagship Broken Skull IPA or Mayberry IPA, both of which I recommend seeking out. Currently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, El Segundo is shipping beers directly to consumers. Check out their webshop here.
I’m reviewing Grand Hill IPA from a 4-pack of 16oz cans that are priced at $14 plus tax. Each can thankfully has a packaging date printed on the bottom edge. This particular 4-pack is less than two weeks old at the time of review. Like many craft breweries, this can has a plastic wrap label rather than a label printed directly onto the aluminum. That setup could potentially wreak havoc on recycling processors, so El Segundo has placed a perforated section that allows you to neatly “unzip” the plastic label and separate it from the can. “Unzip me to recycle and help save the planet” is written on the perforated section. I doubt many consumers will do this, but it’s a small detail I deeply appreciate.
Into my glass, Grand Hill is brilliantly crystal clear, pale golden in color with no particulate in sight. A gorgeous, cream-colored head of foam rises up over the edge of the glass with tight bubbles and a glossy sheen on top from all the hop oils. This beer looks phenomenal. The aroma is sweeter and dessert-like with pineapple slices, birthday cake, and maraschino cherries – moving over to freshly baked bread and butterscotch the closer it gets to room temperature.
Digging in, Grand Hill packs quite a wallop of bitterness right off the bat. It’s a familiar bittering hop profile with loads of dark orange, ruby red grapefruit, Brazil nut, and sappy pine resin. But that aggressive, high alpha acid-derived bitterness is matched up with quite a dense, sweeter base beer that is up to the challenge. Whole wheat bread crust, pound cake, and crystalline white sugar create a chewy body for perfect balance. Just a touch of salt really rounds out the soft mouthfeel. There’s also no alcohol bite to speak of as Grand Hill is mid-range ABV for the style. It then lingers in the finish with intense citrus rind bitterness and resinous hops piling up for one epic finale.
Perceived Specs for El Segundo Grand Hill IPA
Grand Hill is a straightforward, familiar, no-nonsense IPA that easily falls into the modern classic category. The recipe omits today’s trendy hop varieties and is also strangely clear in a world dominated by murky milkshake IPAs. Most importantly, Grand Hill is flawlessly executed and reminds us why this tried-and-true combination of old school American hops and 2-row pale malt is never going away. Grand Hill offers a worthy alternative to some of the best clear IPAs available right now like Pizza Port Swami’s and Beachwood Amalgamator. If you love clear IPAs, don’t let this one slip by.
El Segundo Brewing is a sponsor of The Full Pint. This review is free of bias and our personal opinion.
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