Welcome to beer tasting, a column where we taste and review beers that show up at Blower HQ. Full disclosure: We’re doing this because getting free beer is awesome, so if you’re a alcohol marketer looking for an opportunity to show off your latest brew, send us an email to email@example.com
Beer and the outdoors are a classic pairing. At a ball game, at a concert, at a cookout, these are all situations where we expect to be drinking beer. But those aren’t the only times we’re outside. So the brewery wizards at 10 Barrel partnered with Rome SDS to create “All Ways Down”, a Double IPA with the tagline “drink beer outside”.
This isn’t the first time 10 Barrel has worked with snowboarders to make a beer. Their “Pray for POW” stout includes a financial contribution to the Protect Our Winters cause. But Rome’s involvement, and the packaging featuring a snowboard and boots (along with a mountain bike and skis) makes this something a bit different. It isn’t just a beer with a gesture towards snowboarding. It’s designed to be a beer for snowboarding. (And mountain biking. And skiing.)
I don’t know what exactly is “doubled” when they make a Double IPA. Is there twice as much India? Twice as much ale? That would explain the potent alcohol content. I don’t think they’re doubling the pale, this beer isn’t what I’d call light in color compared to hefeweizen or wit.
But the result is unquestionably a step up from the standard IPA experience. There’s just more. More hops, more booze, more flavor. Maybe too much flavor if you’re not exactly a West Coast IPA fan, because this IPA is indisputably West Coast. Which is a curious decision since 10 Barrel makes such a point of talking about how the Rome SDS crew contributed to the creation of this beer. One would assume Vermont’s other snowboard brand would have made a New England IPA. Maybe their business with Nidecker has given them a more global perspective?
Honestly I discovered this secret by mistake. When I was taking product shots for this review, I hadn’t put the beer in the fridge yet. But I wanted to get the “poured into a glass” shot you see above, so I poured warm beer into a clean glass to get the shot. And after pouring it, I wasn’t going to waste it. That wouldn’t be responsible, and one should always drink responsibly.
So at 11AM on a Tuesday I started drinking a tall glass of warm beer. And honestly? It was a lot better than I expected. The assertive bitterness you experience when the beer is cold, never my favorite part of any IPA, was tempered by a stronger presence from the hops’ more juicy, fruity flavors.
This must be a result of the effect cold has on taste. In general, cold “hides” flavors from you. It’s why all ice cream is spectacular, and why PBR isn’t a waste of money when you find a bar that’s doing $2 tall boys. But when it’s warm, there’s nowhere to hide. You’re getting the pure, uncompromised taste of the beer. Which is normally bad news, but in this case ..
10 Barrel All Ways Down honestly tasted pretty good at room temperature. I wouldn’t say it was the best beer I’ve ever had, but it’s unquestionably the best warm beer I’ve had. And that’s no small feat. With nothing to hide behind 10 Barrel (and credit where credit is due, Rome Snowboards) have made a beer that honestly tastes pretty decent without refrigeration.
Drinking normally, this beer is a fine example of the West Coast Double IPA style. Moderately bitter, high alcohol content, yet still quite drinkable. But the party trick, the palatability when warm … that’s what this beer is for. That’s what sets it apart from every other west coast Double IPA. This is a beer to have in your backpack for a summit celebration, a setting where the higher ABV gives it a quite favorable booze-to-weight ratio. And of course the crushable can makes it easy to pack out too.
Normally it’s not recommended to drink a warm beer. Any beer, every beer, is better when cold. But if you know you’re going to drink a beer that isn’t cold, because it’s going to be in your backpack or the back of your car for a few hours before you crack it open, it would be hard to do better than the 10 Barrel All Ways Down DIPA.
Style: Double IPA
Size tested: 12oz cans
Find it HERE, or wherever you buy beer.