Beer of the Week: 9 Trips Around the Sun

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Most sensory notes from brewers detailing the aromas and flavors of their IPAs and hop-driven beers include familiar descriptors. You’ll get plenty of overarching categorical mentions of citrus, tropical and stone fruit, some of which are peeled back to reveal orange, lemon, peach, apricot, mango, passion fruit and other more specific members of those families. In the case of more classic, Pacific-Northwest-grown hops, there will be references to evergreen, pine and resin. Then there’s onion, garlic and the less descriptive but unmistakable “dank”. But every now and then a brewer will report back with uncommon adjectives like berry, coconut or chocolate (it’s happened…more than once!). These terms make me extra excited to give the beers that inspired them a taste and see if I can pick up on those less typical characteristics. Such was the case with this week’s featured beer, 9 Trips Around the Sun IPA. A West Coast model, it was cooked up by longtime local beer industry vet Matt Akin of Duck Foot Brewing to celebrate that Miramar-based operation’s nine-year anniversary. Having followed Akin and his beers, first from AleSmith Brewing, then to his own passion project, Benchmark Brewing, and now Duck Foot, I have come to expect certain trademark attributes, mostly of the piney, citrus nature. But upon delivery of this beer, he shared that he picked up notes of blackberry (rather rare for an IPA) and even bubble gum (pretty much unheard of). The latter is typically imparted by Belgian yeast, which this beer doesn’t utilize, so I was more than just a little intrigued. Upon taking my first sniff, I picked up tons of orange and some caramelized mango, maybe even a touch of ripe red berries. Moving on to my first sip, my taste buds were met with more orange, hints of both cantaloupe and berry – possibly blackberry – and a dominant verdant fir-like bitterness verging on rosemary or sage. So, no Topps factory or thorny bramble vibes, but a delightful and extremely flavorful IPA all the same. Plus, it’s important to remember that sensory is subjective, so your nose and tongue may be calibrated more along the lines of Mr. Akin’s. The only way you’ll know is if you give this specialty beer a try, and the best place to do so is at Duck Foot’s nine-year anniversary soiree, taking place at their Miramar HQ from noon to 9:30 p.m., tomorrow.

To celebrate Duck Foot’s ninth anniversary, we’ve crafted a bright and fruity IPA, ‘Nine Trips Around the Sun.’ This beer captures the warm, summery feel we’ve always strived to offer our guests. Aromas of candied orange peel and bubble gum greet the nose, with a hint of pine in the background. With each sip, the hops unveil layers of fruity flavors, starting with that candied-orange and ending with subtle blackberry notes. The piney undertone remains throughout, and the beer finishes crisp and dry with lively carbonation dancing on the tongue. We hope you’re as excited for the next sip ‒ and the next year ‒ as we are!”

Matt Akin, Head Brewer, Duck Foot Brewing
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