Avery has definitely laid down some pretty highly regarded IPAs. Maharaja is generally accepted as an IPA that goes above and beyond to satisfy its drinkers and I’m hoping that Dugana follows in that trend. It is listed as DIPA, though it never says that anywhere on the bottle; instead choosing to be labeled as a simple “India Pale Ale.”
I actually tried to find what “duganA” means. Was it a person? A rank of nobility? A god? A saint (any of which the label seems to imply)? I even searched it backwards (hoping the awkward capitalization was a clue), but I was grossly unsuccessful in my search. If someone out there happens to know, I’d be more than grateful if you put it in the comments. That mystery aside, let’s get to the mystery in this bottle. Let’s pour!
Aroma 10/12: This is a solid representation of an IPA. It starts out with resinous dark pine and plenty of spice before showing its sweeter malt side of sweet Hawaiian bread and hints of the alcohol within it. As it warms it fades in between a brighter pine and the one to which we were initially introduced. Very fundamental in an encouraging way.
Appearance 3/3: Bright gold, high clarity, and a generous, sticky, ivory-colored head make this beer look just about as refreshing as an IPA can. There is plenty of lacing to silence any detractors who might think otherwise.
Flavor 17/20: This beer slides from light milk caramel into dark toffee and piney, herbal hops. Based on color alone, I did not see the dark toffee flavors coming. The flavors reside there for the majority of the backbone, but do allow some brown sugar and grapefruit notes to shine through alongside plenty of resin and bitter flavors. In fact, if held in the mouth this becomes solely a medley of bitter and alcohol tingles on the tongue. Hop heads will be pleased. The finish allows for a bit of the malt, but is no surprise that it mostly is a continuation of the bitter, resin, and a slight prick of pepper spice. The aftertaste (and 8.5% ABV) leave the mouth somewhat dry and with a great deal of bitter on the sides of the tongue.
Mouthfeel 3/5: The medium body still contributes to the impression of a “refreshing beer” that this brew has given off since the beginning. However, it receives no assistance from the carbonation. Halfway through the bomber this carbonation is all but absent, and leaves the beer feeling thick. The peppery hops try to lend a false carbonation by pricking the tongue, but their efforts are also in vain. The warmth is not intrusive and even goes to compliment the hops on several occasions. Any creaminess felt is likely a symptom of the lack of carbonation.
Overall Impression 8/10: Hop heavy and bitter, but not completely forsaking of hop flavors and a attractive aroma. This offering is not nearly as balanced as many quality IPAs on the market, but that might be exactly what you are looking for.
Total 41/50: This offering is not nearly as sweet as the Maharaja. That said, it can also be inferred that it also makes almost no attempt to achieve balance the way Maharaja does. While I personally prefer the Maharaja’s style, a lot of hop heads (and friends on the west coast) will probably prefer this brew and its unapologetic hoppiness. While this style usually is not my cup of tea, I could not give it lower than an 8 in the “Overall Impression” category and, frankly, that is a pretty subjective category. It is remarkably well-made (minus my issue with the carbonation) and is a good example of what it claims to be. While it is scored behind its counterpart (41 compared to 45) its score still ranks it as “Excellent,” and has nothing of which to be ashamed. Kudos to you Avery! I knew you wouldn’t let us down.
Joel R. Kolander is the Cheif Blogger for Sud Savant, a beer-savoring blog for the rest of us. We’re not here to get plowed. We’re not here because we are world-famous beer critics. We’re here because we enjoy savoring a great beer with even better friends. Sharing great beer is just as amazing as finding it in the first place. Lets share!