Beer: Phantom Scream
Brewery: Nepenthe Brewing Co. (Baltimore, MD)
Style: IPA – Imperial/Double
8.6% ABV / 0 IBU
As described in Homer’s Odyssey, Nepenthe’s whole line of hop-bomb IPAs and mouth-puckering sours offer a pleasingly narcotic buzz that will help your troubles melt away. This upstart brewing operation from Bodymore, Murderland can kick it with easier-drinking styles, too, but its very best offerings tend to fall in the imperial/double range. This is true for Nepenthe’s kettle sours, as well as their generously hopped DIPAs, including Phantom Scream, which rules every bit as hard as the colorful-yet-creepy can art.
At this point, the Nepenthe label is already an imprimatur of quality: You know you’re going to be getting a beer that will make you question everything you’ve consumed up to that point and wonder why all other beers can’t offer the same rewards. The new frontier for IPAs in ’22 is balance, and Phantom Scream definitely satisfies that quest with its blend of Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe. This DIPA doesn’t offer a whole lot on the nose (ultimately a good thing), but the smooth finish offers concentrated hop flavor with a very creamy mouthfeel and just the tiniest hint of bitterness.
Nepenthe achieves balance with Phantom Scream by hopping with cryo of all three-strains—essentially pellet extracts of the lupulin oils from the hops. That’s also why this DIPA offers maximum hop flavor with muted bitterness, because the bitterness is introduced only in the dry-hopping phase, when Nepenthe re-introduces cryo and solid hop versions of all three strains. It’s all about the lupulins, because the center of the hop is really as close to nature’s intent as you can get. Phantom Scream is aromatic and herbal, and to paraphrase our man Pauly Shore, full of only the freshest, tastiest nugs.
For more info on Nepenthe Brewing Co, please head here.