Three Heads Coconut Cask Tropical Kind IPA
by Gino Fanelli | published Sep. 24th, 2014
The name's a mouthful, as it rightly should be, since this beer is one hell of a mouthful too. Three Heads, a brewery out of Honeoye Falls, has made a name for itself as a purveyor of experimental brews, psychedelic labels and an all-around lighthearted yet incessantly unique contribution to the upstate NY craft beer scene – and the Coconut Cask Tropical Kind IPA surely lives up to that reputation.
Stemming from The Kind, Three Heads' flagship ale and a ubiquitous representation of the East Coast IPA style, the Tropical Kind adds to the former's medley of piney, grapefruity hops with heavy notes of mango and pineapple. The addition of coconut, which is added raw and aged in cask, adds a whole new dimension to this already complex brew.
A dark amber color with an extremely hazy transparency, the Coconut Tropical Kind presents with a head about one finger in height, which slowly dissipates as the beer settles. It is an appearance eponymous with the name IPA, representing the style to a tee. However, with the first whiff off the top of the glass, it is made clear that you're not in for your traditional IPA fair. It smells like a Pina Colada that your weird uncle who always shows up late for Thanksgiving reeking of gin and cheap cigars would force your 12-year-old self to try sips of. It smells like if you filled a coconut with pineapple juice, left it to ferment, mixed it with pine cones and served it in an oak-lined cup. It smells like an ungodly mix of different fruits never intended to be mixed, almost to an extent where it seems wrong.
And yet, it's fucking awesome.
It’s awesome to the point, where I personally nearly drowned when I first got my glass, sticking my nose so far into the glass that I ended up breathing some of it right up.
The taste, however, is not as insanely unique. It tastes of a mild IPA, light hop bitterness playing on the tongue alongside notes of grapefruit, all merging delicately alongside flavors of mango and pineapple. The finish comes in with a mild yet certainly present bitterness, mingling with savory notes of raw coconut. Malt presence is completely overrun by the strong mix of fruits and the amicable hop. What lingers is a tinge of bitterness and a mild alcoholic burn.
Overall, this is a lovely representation of a tropical interpretation of the East Coast IPA style. Its aroma certainly outpaces the flavor, which is not to take away from the actual flavor of the beer, which is actually quite nice; rather, the scent is just outstanding, akin to if Calvin Klein began a line of beers and somehow mixed them up with his perfume. All in all, the Three Heads Coconut Cask Tropical Kind is certainly an interesting beer and, while clocking in at 9% and and 87 IBUs, is still somehow relatively light and accessible to the inexperienced drinker.
This beer is a limited run, small-batch and is available at The Old Toad British Pub.