This is our first spin with Asheville, North Carolina-based Highland Brewing’s beers, and we’re starting off big. Metal Rat is a collaboration with Seattle’s Lucky Envelope Brewing, making this a true cross-country collaboration. Designed to celebrate Chinese New Year, the beer is unique hazy IPA that’s brewed on both coasts and is made with Lotus hops and local malts.
We tasted the beer — which is only available on draft — from a 32 oz. crowler shipped to us from the brewery.
Lotus hops were released only last year, and you can smell the fruit impact right from the start. Pineapple and orange notes are immediately evident on the nose, along with a rather traditionally burly bitterness. On the palate, the fruit rushes at you fast — orange zest followed by Lotus’s most unique trick, a sweet note of “purple” grape candy. It’s a big hit, but the fruit dies away quickly, leaving a strongly bitter and rather un-hazy-like character on the finish. Perhaps that’s the true melding of east coast and west coast?
B / $NA (draft only) / highlandbrewing.com