As vibrant and varied as the Treasure Valley craft brew scene is, it's nice to welcome another highly regarded outsider into the ever-growing number of local labels. The award-winning, San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Company was founded in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley, but it was when brewmaster Chuck Silva came on board two years later that things really began to click. This trio definitely supports the claim that they "specialize in brewing assertive and distinctive beers."
Le Freak, 22 ounce, $9.19
Billed as a Belgian IPA, this brew is an iridescent, deep copper color, with a two-finger head that lingers leaving ample lacing. Belgian yeast aromatics dominate the nose, with sour peach, citrus and spice backed by subtle hops. That hop character pops out a bit more in the mouth, where lightly tart stone fruit and green banana work well together.
Palate Wrecker Hamilton's Ale, 12 ounce, $3.79
This beer pours an orange-tinged amber with a thin but persistent head, and a bright nose filled with citrus and pine-laced hops. This is definitely a hop-driven brew, but the bitterness is balanced a bit by decent malt backing. Given that big hop profile and the heady 9.5 percent alcohol by volume, this is an aptly named beer. Both characteristics strongly suggest savored sipping.
West Coast IPA, 12 ounce, $2.99
In the glass, this brew is burnt orange, topped by a scant, tan froth. The robust aromas mix fresh-milled grain with smooth, resiny hops and tropical fruit. The front label proclaims this ale to be "extravagantly hopped" (with four different varieties), and it certainly lives up to the claim. It's a bold offering with bitter grapefruit and a nice hop bite from start to finish. This beer is definitely a worthy example of the West Coast IPA style.