Description: The Great Return pours straw yellow with a strong bronze hue throughout and a frothy white head that leaves behind a thick lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with hops in the citrus and pine family backed with subtle hints of malts underneath, definitely more hop-forward in the nose, though. The taste follows suit, but showcases the balance within the beer. The hops wash over the palate, first bringing with it strong punches of grapefruit and pine before wonderfully soothing semi-sweet malts caress the palate and leave behind an excellent bone-dry finish. The medium body and moderate carbonation are perfect for delivering this crisp, refreshing, and very pleasantly assertive IPA. The Great Return is most definitely one of the best American IPAs currently available and is highly recommended to all who love the style.
Food pairing: The Great Return goes well with a spectrum of spicy foods. Mexican or Indian delicacies are a perfect match. However, this is a beer that has a depth of flavor that should be experimented with for full experience. The strong citrus hop notes with backing of pine and semi-sweet, bready malts make for a perfect pairing with goat cheese and cranberry ravioli topped with fresh pecorino cheese. The creaminess of the cheese will melt into the body while the subtle acidity of the cranberries will gravitate toward the hops. The wonderful carbonation will cleanse the palate, leaving behind a bone-dry finish that will invigorate the palate. This is a fantastic beer for brunch dishes, specifically omelets. Try pairing this with a bacon and cheddar filled omelet that will get any day off to a good start. The pairings with a beer of this caliber are endless and self-experimentation is highly recommended.
Glassware: Well brewed IPAs are full of hoppy aroma. A glass to capture that aroma is always called for when looking to enjoy the beer to its utmost potential. The Spiegelau IPA glass is the best choice for the beer, while a tulip or Willi Becher pub glass services the beer well.
The Final Word: Hardywood is a brewery that’s built quite a reputation for phenomenal beers in a wide range of styles. A few months back, during the winter season, their delicious Gingerbread Stout was almost impossible to find due to the loyal — and well deserved — following it quickly gained. However, the brewery is far from a one trick pony and has brewed some world class Imperial IPAs (Hoplar), Belgian Quads (Bourbon Cru) and their Cream Ale is not to be missed. The Great Return is yet another inspiring feather in the cap for a brewery that has seemingly just begun and has many more delicious beers to come. Hardywood is definitely a brewery to watch and sample closely. The Great Return is a must try beer for all fans of the IPA style.
Where can I get it?: Currently available in 16 oz. cans at: Backyard Ale House- Scranton; Wegmans- Wilkes Barre; Exit 190 beer Deli- Dickson City; Weis Markets- Hazleton; and Town Tavern- Duryea