Name: Two Plus Two Equals Five (Garage Project)
Brewers: Garage Project (New Zealand), Greek Cheek Beer Company (United States)
Style: Triple IPA
Review Year: 2021
Garage Project of Wellington teamed up with California’s Green Cheek Beer Co. for Two Plus Two Equals Five, a hazy “Triple IPA” at 10.5% ABV that features Phantasm powder. Phantasm is a relatively new innovative product from New Zealand derived naturally from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc grapes and is currently being tested by select breweries around the world. This massive beer also features a diverse hop mix that includes Southern Cross, Idaho 7, and fat stacks of Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin.
This “Triple IPA” is being evaluated as a Specialty IPA (21B) in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
As of this writing, the “Triple IPA,” particularly the hazy and juicy variant, is not yet an official/ explicit style and, thus, lacks a comprehensive set of guidelines by the BJCP. However, the Brewers Association (BA) had already provisioned guidelines for the “Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale” in the 2018 update of their Beer Style Guidelines. This style appears to be the closest benchmark for these hazy and juicy “Triple IPAs.” An article written by Randy Mosher in 2020 could also be referred to for additional hallmarks of the style:
- Haziness from a radical dry-hopping not from the yeast;
- Aroma of tropical fruits, stone-fruits, and/or bright citrus;
- Viscous and creamy mouthfeel;
- Mild bitterness;
- ABV of around 10%;
- Dry-hopped twice or thrice;
- Water used is tilted toward calcium chloride to enhance the creamy presentation;
- Fermented usually with an English strain, but “Conan” is the most notable;
- Bigger examples should be exploding with hops aroma and very rich and full on the palate;
- Balance can sometimes tilt away from drinkability;
- Lactose is an optional ingredient;
- Very young versions can display a peppery “hop burn” on the finish;
- Well-brewed and well-packaged versions may stay perfectly lovely for a couple of months; and
- Less prone to oxidation relative to classic IPAs.
Hazy deep gold, moderately low white head. Pineapple, white grapes, orange citrus, cantaloupe, and resin composed the aroma profile albeit at a medium-low intensity. Medium-full body, moderate carbonation, with a low gritty afterfeel. The flavor was dominated by intense white grapes and a basket of bright citrus and tropical fruits against a backdrop of bready maltiness. Others noted additional resinous, spicy, and herbal accents. Hop bitterness was firm while residual sweetness was noted at moderately low levels. The aftertaste lingered with bright citrus and white grape impressions. No harsh alcohol notes and astringency.
Two Plus Two Equals Five is a highly potent Triple IPA that exuberates intense citrus and white grape flavors. Triple IPAs may still lack a comprehensive set of style guidelines, but we think Two Plus Two Equals Five is less drinkable relative to the other beers of this style we have reviewed. This may be due to its intense hop flavors, bitterness, residual sweetness, and body all contributing to that “heavy” impression when being consumed. Then again, drinkability can be subjective.
As to the contribution of Phantasm powder, we can only speculate that it has aided in accentuating the white grape character in the beer. It might be too early to tell what this relatively new product could bring to the table given that only a few breweries have access to it. Likewise, it is important to note that the perception of white grapes is not uncommon in beer as Australian and New Zealand hops like Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin (as used in this beer), respectively, are noted to yield unique flavors such as the one mentioned among others. Hopefully, when Phantasm powder becomes available widely in the market, we can get ourselves fully acquainted with it.
Maybe a much more intense aroma profile could further improve this beer, but all in all, Two Plus Two Equals Five is an excellent brew that reinforces the notion that the sum is greater than all its parts.
Flavor Fever: Seeing Through the Haze of Double and Triple Juicy IPAs (Craft Beer & Brewing, 2020)
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