Back on the beat to find the best IPA in the USA. Big trip this year to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Amazing place; fantastic sandy beaches, plenty of great food, and North Carolina beers.
One of the goals of the trip was to drink beers I have never had before. That goal was fulfilled, and left me very impressed with North Carolina beers in general.
The best beer I had during the week was Flagship IPA from the Carolina Brewery n Chapel Hill North Carolina. The brewery is the 5th oldest in North Carolina, they won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for the English Style IPA in 2006.
The Flagship IPA ( 5.9% ABV and 87IBU's) came in a can. (no worries I have gotten over my can-o-phobia a while ago) On the can they go into a short history of IPA's mention the cascade hops, and have the saying "First in Flavor, A Classic, Hoppy IPA". I was geeked to drink this one. Flagship pours cloudy amber, with a nice head that stuck around for the full drink. I could smell the cascade hops, and couldn't wait for the first drink. Now I must warn you I am a hoppy beer lover, so I was expecting this to "bring the hops" and boy it did. On first drink you could taste the hops on the front and back of my tongue. That is not to say it was overpowering, it was easy to drink. Tasted a bit a grapefruit, with some earthiness. Finish was clean, but the hops sits on the back of the tongue.
Flagship is really a great IPA, one of my top 10 ever. If you love IPA's and you are in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina or Southern Tennessee, I say find this beer. Overall I have only one regret. I didn't buy several cases before I headed home.