post was written by Tony Holladay. He is a native of California and moved to the Pacific Northwest over 10 years ago.   An avid outdoorsman, he spends time fly fishing, hunting, camping and doing photography.  Tony enjoys IPA as well as a good single-malt Scotch.  He currently resides in Bellingham where all his favorite outdoor activities are readily available.  He has been married for 26 years to Michelle and has 2 kids, Nathan, 21 and Rachel, 17.  He also has a BS in Organizational Leadership from University of Charleston, West Virginia. check out his Instagram.

Explosive.  Peppery.  Fruity.  Do any of those words sound like something used to describe a beer?  I guess it all depends on your level of expertise.  As a novice, I say absolutely!  This IPA was fantastic!

The Stats:

Beer:   Head Full of Dynomite, Version 5
Company/Location:    Fremont Brewing, Seattle, EARTH
IBU:     ACT (According to their web site, that stands for “A crap ton”
ABV:    6.8%
Location of Taste:  Aslan Depot, Bellingham, WA

First Impressions Are the Most Important

First Glance:  Hazy.  Super Hazy.  So hazy it looks like it is dirty.  This is how I like my IPA’s, so I figured it was going to be a good one.  The head was a bright white and not overly thick.  The beer was served in the perfect pint glass- open top to allow fantastic smell, with a narrow base for easy holding.  Similar to a tulip style, but overall a little better for enhancing the flavor- at least in my opinion, and since it is my review, that is all that matters!

Taste/Smell:   The citrus smell was instant.  I picked up grapefruit and orange right away.  The haze had given me the inclination it would be very citrusy, and I was not disappointed.  I could also pick up the hops, and I would say they smelled a little like dry hay.  Overall, I found it to smell fantastic, and was pretty excited to give it a taste.

Gulp!  Bitterness indeed, and yet very smooth.  The citrus helped to give it a great balance, and I found the bitterness to be enhancing versus overpowering.  The biggest surprise came at the end- peppers.  The finish was very long, and the pepper flavor was fantastic.  This beer would be great with a large pretzel and some jalapeno cheese!  This beer had no sweetness- just pure citrus.

Overall:  Bitter but balanced!  As I mentioned in my last review, I would prefer to find a little more bitterness prevalent in the flavor, but that is a very personal choice.  This beer brought it. And then some!  When the brewing company calls it “a crap ton” of IBU, you have to believe it. If you don’t like the bitters, then this one is not for you!  It is still an easy to drink beer and goes down smoothly, and this version is perfect for the summer season.  On my 1-5 scale, I give it a 4.4.

 Aslan Depot, located in Bellingham, WA, is a recent addition to the Aslan Brewing company.  Located in the historic Union Depot building, which was a hub for the electric cars in the city, the Depot is both a barrel aging facility and taproom.  Beautifully decorated on the inside, it reminds me of what an old cigar lounge might have looked like.  Additionally, they have a large outdoor seating area, which makes it a nice place for the beautiful PNW summers.  Please drink responsibly!


Check out Tony’s review of the Northwest IPA here