The pour of Belching Beaver’s Phantom Bride IPA reveals a slightly hazy, pale golden elixir with a head that, unfortunately, falls short in the aesthetics department. The meringue-like foam, comprised of overly large bubbles, lacks the desired density and iridescence expected in a top-tier IPA. Head retention is disappointingly brief, collapsing in less than a minute, raising concerns about potential packaging issues when experiencing the canned version.


In the olfactory realm, Phantom Bride triumphs, presenting an exquisite amalgamation of Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops. The aromatic profile is a juicy and bright bouquet, featuring starfruit, honeydew melon, Reisling grape, and pineapple. Sweeter notes of white cake, brioche, and clear gummy bear add depth to the inviting aroma. As the beer warms up, subtle undertones of sweet corn and wheat emerge, contributing to the overall sensory experience.


The flavor profile of Phantom Bride IPA boasts a rare cleanliness and quenching quality not commonly associated with many IPAs. Impressively well-balanced, with bitterness and sweetness both resting comfortably at a moderate 5/10, the beer unveils dominant juicy fruit flavors such as honeydew melon, lime, and pineapple. The dialed-back kettle hops offer a mild lime peel presence. However, the introduction of a pronounced graininess with a raw, gristy character after several sips might be an acquired taste for some, yet adds a unique dimension. The finish introduces a subtle acidity reminiscent of fresh sourdough bread, culminating in a surprisingly hidden 7.1% ABV that only catches up towards the end of the glass.


Despite its head-related shortcomings, Phantom Bride IPA manages to deliver a satisfying mouthfeel. The moderate bitterness and sweetness contribute to a well-balanced and refreshing experience. The grainy texture, although potentially divisive, adds an interesting layer to the overall drinking sensation.


Belching Beaver’s Phantom Bride IPA stands as a testament to the brewery’s prowess, emerging as a standout in their repertoire. While the appearance might leave room for improvement, the aroma and taste catapult this brew into the upper echelons of modern, clear IPAs. With a clean and quenching character, this offering from the Deftones collaboration might just be San Diego’s best-kept secret, appealing to fans of the style seeking a well-crafted and balanced experience.