First Cast IPA, Elevation Beer Company, Poncha Springs

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.5 percent

Serving Type: 16.9-ounce bottle

Malty? Hoppy? More malts than you’d expect, but this is still a hoppy IPA.

Reviewed: April 2013

We’ve got patience: We often wait a few months after a beer is released before reviewing it. We like to give the brewery a little time to figure out canning, bottling, and distribution—and how each affects their recipe—before passing judgment. That was the case when Elevation Beer Company released their First Cast IPA in bottles.

We’ve sampled the brew in their taproom several times, and were pleased that this IPA would fill out the shelves at our local liquor store. But we waited more than a year before cracking open one of these 16.9-ounce bottles (the beer is sold as a four-pack) to give the brewery time to refine their recipe.

On first smell, we weren’t disappointed. The aroma was delightfully citrusy, with hints of lemon and, even, apricot fruit. The pour was a lovely sunset orange. And, if we were ranking beer on those two factors alone, this might have been the perfect pint.

But the beer we remembered tasting in Poncha Springs lost some of its vibrancy in the bottle. The malts, which help even out the Chinook, Summit, and Zythos hops, take too much of a leading role for what we’ve come to expect from IPAs (particularly ones that boast being “a hop-forward west coast style American IPA”).

Now, that’s all fixable, and we’ll keep sampling First Cast to see how the recipe changes (or doesn’t). There are so many things right about this brew (the lacy head, the intoxicating smell), that with a little work, this could become a quintessential Colorado IPA.

Would we buy it again? While the brewery is tinkering, pair it at a dinner party with other Colorado IPAs (we suggest Avery Brewing’s India Pale Ale and Great Divide’s Lasso IPA) to see a wide range of approaches to this classic style.

Bonus: Read more about the brewery here.

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Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.