Finch’s Beer Company out of Chicago expanded their distribution into Wisconsin the first week of April and celebrated their 1-year anniversary April 20th. Finch’s the product Ben Finch, head brewer Richard Grant and Ben’s father, Paul Finch, is quickly expanding production and increasing their capacity to 12,000 barrels a year. In addition to Wisconsin and their home state of Chicago they currently distribute to limited markets in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Georgia; although if the pattern in Wisconsin is indicative you are more likely to find them in small specialty beer stores or Whole Foods.
Any new craft brewery is very much appreciated anywhere in the US as mass market beer drinkers hopefully become more aware of the many beer styles and slowly depart from the traditional light lagers that they cling to. The major breweries have hundreds of millions to throw away at TV ads while the craft brewer is reliant upon word of mouth and exquisite beers. Fortunately for Finch’s, they have built up a rather large following on both Facebook and twitter allowing word of their beers to spread quickly. Hopefully they can keep up with the demand they are creating for their product.
Threadless IPA (6.0% ABV) is a collaboration beer between Finch’s Beer Co. and the Chicago-based area clothing company Threadless Tee’s. I am not too familiar with Threadless but they do have an excellent selection of unique t-shirts as well as a full display of all the concept art submitted for the Threadless IPA labels.
On to the review, at Beeradvocate, Threadless has a 79, while at ratebeer it has an 85 overall and a 58 for style. Again with the horrible style rating at ratebeer, I wonder what's up with that.
Our Threadless/Finch collaboration IPA is a balanced experience of both perceived hoppiness and true bitterness. It pours a darker amber color and finishes with a citrus flavor, and when combined, will require this to be the last IPA you ever drink! Well, maybe, we realize you will probably drink more, but the result of this recipe clearly evolves into a very balanced IPA. The grain bill on this big pale includes melanoidin and Victory malts. We hop it up before the boil starts with some Columbus first wort hopping, then add a bunch more for bittering.
Upon opening the can, the hop aroma wafts out. It pours a gorgeous slightly hazy orange, placing it right in the middle of the color guidelines for the style, with an impressive, creamy light tan (think khaki) head that has excellent retention. They claim to add the hops at first wort and for bittering yet it retains a slight citrus and resiny aroma with some noticeable malty sweetness on the back end. It has a very strong earthy and citrus hop flavor with noticeable malty sweetness and a slight fruitiness, likely from the yeast. The bitterness, as is common in IPAs, lingers for a rather long time after each sip. However, as it warms up it becomes noticeably maltier and less bitter. It is carbonated to perfection with a very smooth, medium-bodied mouth feel and a slightly dry finish.
Overall, this is a very good IPA, not nearly as overwhelmingly hoppy as some commercial examples; it does however come across as more balanced than most. I do however think it would be awesome if it were dry-hopped to achieve a much more immersive experience. It is however very reasonably priced, in fact I picked up my 4-pack for around $6.00 making it an excellent beer for the price point. Needless to say, I am impressed with the quality of beer that Finch’s is putting out and hope to see a lot more varieties through their brew house in the future. If Threadless represents even a small percentage of the skill possessed by head brewer Richard Grand Finch’s has a very bright future! I only wish that I was able to have sampled their extremely rare General Tso, their Blood Orange Ginger Blonde, but the last batch ever will be consumed this coming Saturday in celebration of Chicago’s Beer Week (Come on Finch’s break out a batch for the Great Lakes Beerfest!!, please?).
That’s all for today, be sure to check back on Friday for a review of New Belgium’s Shift Lager and then later in the weekend for another Finch’s brew, Secret Stache Stout.