With Temecula, CA not too far from Los Angeles, a reputation of wine, retirement communities, golf, and proximity to the Inland Empire precede this beer's reputation. The bottle reminds me of metal music and makes me want to fist pump to some sweet beats or shreds before I even pop the bottle. Local people doing what they like, and doing it well is something to be happy about. Not to mention, that it would be easy for me to find unbelievably fresh bottles! I notice the bottle says it's 9.5% ABV so I'm prepared to get slapped in the face.
Appearance: This is amber and golden in appearance Double IPA leaning toward coppery. This shade is perfect and delicious looking, reminding me of Pliny the Elder. The head is lumpy and inviting proving freshness. It takes a while to settle with suds lining the top of the glass and irregular fresh looking bubbles having a pool party along the top. Nose: The nose is sweet and floral with citrus rind, grapefruit, and malt. I get hints of mango, The floral peaks above all else with a slight piney note that makes me want to chug the whole thing before even finishing this review.
Taste: A hop bitterness with a sweet syrupy almost pine tar flavor, that isn't off-putting but very much in your face. After the first sip I exhaled through my nose and felt the strong aromas course through me and it sort of got me light headed. Light headed because of the alcohol aromas at 9.5% ABV and the rolling-eyes-back-in-the-head euphoria. The taste is rich and woody but not overly hopped. Booze and bitterness all the way! It is noticeably acidic.
Mouthfeel: The tarry, sappy mouthfeel definitely contributes to the taste and boozy euphoria found within this bottle. I feel like I'm pulling it out of the glass. It takes some effort, but is not actually syrupy in texture or heavy though.
Food Pairings: I would pair this with a deliciously spicy meal. Thai food with plenty of herbs like basil or cilantro would be an experience. This begs for the combination more than most beers would, not to enjoy the beer more than you normally would but to be an explosion of flavor and honestly blow your mind. If I get enough comments below I will post Bipp's Blowmind Hot Wing Recipe for all of you that is quick, easy, and grill friendly, even though the sauce acts like more of a glaze when roasted. I also have a VEGAN cauliflower version of the same recipe. Your favorite bowl of chili, pasta arrabiata, or some Mexican food with jalapenos or red chili sauce will do the trick.
Overall: This is worth enjoying and has a certain character that doesn't seem to care for holding back or conventionality. With that said it is brewed clean and you can tell that the water used is of excellent quality. Who knows maybe it's that they have extra minerals in the water over there in Temecula, CA. This brew is a beast and is for a good fist pumping time, or the next time you want to eat something that makes you breathe fire.
The Fire Within DIPA / Double IPA / 9.50% ABV / Ironfire Brewing Company
Final Score: 9.0/10