There was a time, and it doesn't feel like it was all that long ago, where I would have looked at a California-style Triple India Pale Ale clocking it at 100 IBUs (International Bittering Units) with a considerably more jaundiced eye. After all, my tastes tend towards darker, more malt-forward beers, and the shocking, bitter tartness and piney, resinous aftertaste of these beers for committed hopheads was not to my liking, at least initially.
But the first time you have a strong, crisp, citrusy slap in the chops from a big IPA, preferably on a hot and humid summer day, it's an experience bound to open some new frontiers on your beer palate, that's for sure.
Equinox hails from Barcelona, a surprising place for the collaboration of Belgian triple fermentation and West-Coast weaponized IPAs, and yet, here we are. Citrus scents, especially grapefruit and maybe a bit of lime, are detectable even before the beer is poured, and an enormous, aromatic head results from even a gentle pour. The reddish coppery gold is hard to pin down on the spectrum, but no less pleasing to look at.
More citrus, and maybe a hint of pine can be smelled as I wait for the head to settle, as well as a hint of the high alcohol sweetness, as Equinox weighs in with a respectable abv of 9.4%!
The first mouthful is a potent 1-2 punch of WHAM HERE'S YOUR HOPS followed quickly by WOW LOOKS LIKE THAT HURT HERE HAVE SOME ALCOHOL. The grapefruit gets a little overwhelmed by a slightly piney/resiny quality, but that is quickly washed away by the high-alcohol sweetness. All the carbonation seems to have been utilized in the creation of a shockingly resilient head, so this loud beer has a relatively quiet mouthfeel and relatively smooth finish.
Obviously Equinox is not the kind of beer one would want a six-pack of, but as far as IPAs with a borderline stunty amount of both hops and alcohol, it is surprisingly palatable.
I'm pretty sure I have an allergy to certain kinds of hops though, and Equinox has generated some wheezes in me, so I am unlikely to partake in it again. It was good while it lasted though! Now to find my inhaler...