Green Bullet Triple IPA Hits the Mark

Photo by Kevin Gibson
Photo by Kevin Gibson

San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. finally green-lit a small batch favorite for national release; packed with New Zealand hops, Green Bullet is now widely available nationwide on tap, in four packs and in 22-ounce bottles.

And if you haven’t yet tried it, well, it’s kind of mind blowing.

Green Bullet has become a bit of a cult beer, much like Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. Since it has been available previously only in limited quantities – it was the brewery’s 9th Anniversary beer in 2011 – it has become a sought-after favorite of hopheads.

Ah yes, the hops. The beer is named after the primary hop used in brewing the beer, Green Bullet hops. Another New Zealand hop, Pacific Gem, is also in the blend, balancing floral with fruit characters to create – take a deep breath – this triple IPA. Yep, triple. This beer packs a wallop unlike most double IPAs you’ll find, and those tend to punch you in the mouth.

But at 10.1 percent ABV and 100 IBUs, this one is actually something of a sucker punch. I bought a 22-ounce bottle for $8.99, and expected the hop bitterness to slam me to the floor. In fact, the flavor profile is more floral than bitter, with a hint of fruity sweetness.

The nose is exactly what you’d expect, with hints of pine and fruit – there’s a lot going on in this beer. When you taste it, however, there’s more of a dry crispness than one would expect. The complexity isn’t daunting to the palate as with some double IPAs I’ve had – challenging, yes, but not daunting.

Did I mention it packs a wallop? I shared my 22-ouncer with my friend Nick. When he poured his half of the bottle into the glass, he took a whiff and said, “I think I’m drunk just from smelling it.”

Later, he let his dog Champ have a whiff. Poor Champ was horrified.

But if you’re human and like big beers, this cloudy, dark orange triple IPA leaves quite a tingle on the taste buds, to be sure. The pine characteristics take a front row seat, but the hints of mango and pineapple aren’t far behind. At times, it tastes like a forest. It’s simply a very complex and enjoyable beer.

“While looking for new and unique hops for our 9th Anniversary brew, I turned my focus to New Zealand and discovered a hop called Green Bullet,” said Green Flash head brewer Chuck Silva via a press release. “Given Green Bullet’s brightly floral, piney, pungent, and spicy characteristics, it seemed almost tailor-made for Green Flash. Further exploration in the region led me to discover the fruity Pacific Gem hop.”

And, of course, therein lies the fruit. If you like big, floral IPAs, you need to try this stuff. I’m thinking I waited a bit too long myself.