Reactor American IPA

Image courtesy of ebay.com

Image courtesy of ebay.com

Southwest Michigan is one of my favorite places.  I’d say from the Indiana border to Manistee and from the lakeshore to about 30 miles inland is a near-perfect place.  For one thing, it is blueberry country and I’m nuts about blueberries.  Another thing is the breweries in that section of the world produce some of my favorite beers.  A new favorite is Reactor, from Tapistry Brewing in Bridgman, MI.  The funny thing about Reactor is the fact that we had just driven past the Cook Nuclear facility cooling towers in Bridgman and my daughter said that Isotope IPA would be a good name for a beer and five minutes later I’m buying beer with a label covered cooling towers and nuclear symbols.  Weird.  Anyway, Reactor American IPA is a copper-colored, hazy brew with a huge head that slides out of your way as you tip the glass and leaves big globs of lace in the process.  The bouquet at a distance is vaguely skunky, but not spoilt beer skunk, more like an earthy, yeasty skunk funk.  Getting closer, the piney and fruity notes that come about from dry-hopping with Centennial, Chinook and Cascade hops greet the nose, and you know you are in for a treat.  Reactor’s body is full but not heavy, and a good caramel sweetness helps balance the hop characteristics that you’re about to notice.  Plenty piney and not too bitter, I like it.  The bitterness is not long-lasting, but the dryness on the palette is.  Even at 7.0% ABV I don’t think it’s from the alcohol, as it’s not at all astringent or burning.  The last taste is a bready malt, and it makes you want another big mouthful right away.

The tap room is nice too.  Comfortable and inviting with nice artwork, you don’t have to have facial hair, a knit cap, baggy shorts, tattoos or thick-rimmed glasses to feel at home, although those things will probably get you more smiles.  I’m old and bald, so I get smiles of pity.  I’ll take them.  In the end it’s about the beer, something that unites us all!  Next time you’re in Bridgman, go to Tapistry, or if you are out and about in the area, look for them on tap and in your package good store.  You won’t be disappointed.

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