ACME California IPA | North Coast Brewing Co.

557 Reviews
ACME California IPAACME California IPA

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2000

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Reviews: 557 | Ratings: 1,255
Photo of putnam
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I guess I expected this to be light in color, but this is as pale as Summer Lightning, or Stella Artois. It's beginning to dawn on me what this Acme brand is all about : drier, more traditionally European in build, yet lashed with west coast herbs and spices.
Aromas of candy corn, sticky mint, rancid pine nuts and grapefruit peels. On the palate it is very supple and silky, with beautiful integration of aggressive ruby red grapefruit flesh flavors with dry impressions of honey. It is cascading, dry and very grapefruit-infused tonic (a quality I usually despise in beer). The finish is sunny and carefree. A beautiful sequence of spice, honey and grapefruit in a very dry, mouthmelting texture package.

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Photo of Guyute
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For me, this beer has the perfect consistency and carbonation, which means that the mouthfeel and drinkability of it rank high by me. The appearance is very nice also, a darkish orange color with a thick white head. The hops are not as big as other ipa's, which can be good at times. This is one of my new favorites.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. No freshness date.

Pours a slightly hazy orange amber with thick creamy off-white head.

Nose is full of pine-resin-y herbal hops and some faint amber caramel.

Palate is chewy with hops. Lots of texture for how clear the beer is. The palate is really bright and crisp with some flavors that remind me of Czech pilsners. Leafy, herbal hops and a gripping bitterness. It's not aggressive, but pretty damn tasty.

Notes: Pretty damn good.

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Photo of Zorro
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange colored ale with no real head formation. We should probably start calling this color "IPA Orange" by now.

Smell is all strong and aggressive American C type hops. Strong aromas of eucalyptus, orange, mint and pine. Malts contribution is sweet and honey like.

Taste is strongly of hops at the start, mostly bitter oranges and wood. Strong hops and is what the West Coast IPA is all about and this beer certainly delivers on that. Mostly the first flavors remain as you drink this but in the end the flavor of strong tea joins the rest of the flavors. Pleasant bitter after taste that carries the flavor of orange zest.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is completely subjective based on your tolerance for hops. Super hoppy beer that just isn't for a non-hophead.

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Photo of jlindros
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into oversized snifter

A: Hazy amber golden orange color with large 2 finger head that stays for a while

N: Light amber malt nose with touch of spice and very light hop, some earthy malts that is reminiscent of a dark amber or red ale

T: Starts with a nice malt malts flavor, earthy malts and lots of light malts, again reminds me of a dark amber or red ale, some nice spicey hops come though and it gets pretty bitter, some juicy and fruity hops starts to shine through as well, some nice noble hops perhaps Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade

M: Semi thick with malty and frothy feel with lots of carbonation

F: Finishes pretty bitter and dry, more juicy and spicey hops that stick around for a while and make your mouth water and leaves a slight fruity hop flavor as well as some pine and citrus anticipating the next sip

Final thoughts: I actually thought this was a great IPA. It starts with a nice amber and red ale malt flavor, and lots of juicy, fruity and spicey hops that tend to hit pretty late but pack a nice punch, I'm surprised it gets such a low rating, but probably because its a California IPA thats not a super hop bomb and has too much malt for the Cali style.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. stubby with no freshness date. It pours a hazed topaz, with low carbonation, two inches of light tan head, and some good lacing. Earthy and bready in the nose, along with pine and citric hops. Pretty similar on the palate, with the addition of white grapefruit and a medium bitterness on top of a medium, smooth body that imparts some alcoholic heat. A good IPA that is tasty and not too complex.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one poured a beautiful, pure orange in color with some lively carbonation and a bit of sediment on the bottom of the glass. The head was puffy and showed a lot of retention. It was so fluffy that I had to touch it and, yes indeed, it is soft to the touch.

Smell – There is a wonderful mix of hops in this nose. I can pick up some good citrus and a bit of pine. There are some light fruity notes that excel. The malt base is here – actually it’s very thick – but this is just a supporting cast to this hop bomb.

Taste – Oh, yeah. This is East Coast meets West Coast. The big West Coat hop flavors are out in spades here. I can also pick up those light, fruity “back East” hops. The malt backbone is large and in charge.

Mouthfeel – This very balanced medium to full-bodied IPA is a mouthfull to say the least. It is big and malty and really gets the gums working.

Drinkability – This reminds me of Brutal Bitter. It’s big with some good sweetness and offers a lot to the drinker/taster. Maybe it has crystal hops?

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Photo of Troyone
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in a 12oz bottle, poured a light copper iced tea color has lot of carbonation movement and the head is about an inch and a half.
The smell is not significant but malty sweet with some hint of hops.
The taste is a light to moderate bitter with a resin hops flavor and a hint of tea with a toasted malt character. The finish has an aroma of hops and the aftertaste lightly lingers the same.
Mouthfeel is light to medium with a dry feel and soft carbonation.
The drinkability is great could be a session beer.

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Photo of milwaukee512
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

First try for this one; fan of several other North Coast beers and realize this is kind of a classic of the early California craft beer scene. With that in mind, I'm not terribly surprised by what I found; a medium-bodied, less balanced and more bland than many of its current competition. That said, it is still likable. Good carbonation, nice hazy copper color, and slightly lighter feeling than average for the style. A throwback to be sure; I would like to see what North Coast could do with a new hop-forward beer.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ooh a tasty hoppy IPA indeed!

Pours a rich orangey amber color, with an amazingly retentive head. Its a huge white pillow atop the beer, and it lasted to the bottom of the glass where it remained until I poured the next bottle. A solid whiff of floral hops in the nose, with a slight touch of fresh fruit. Flavor is very nicely hopped, but a dry malt middle balances out the hop bitterness. I also seemed to pick up a slight caramel flavor in there as well...quite subtle. And I had NO idea this was 7.1%! Extremely well hidden...I was very very surprised to see that once I came online here. This is a very good IPA...definitely recommended.

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Photo of stirgy
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was bright and a brassy golden color. Tinged slightly with chill haze. Highly carbonated with a creamy white head. The aroma is slightly spicy with lemon citrus and a creamy and soft hop spiciness. First thing I noticed was the nice malt base. and the hop flavor matches well with the solid malt body. This seems to get sweeter and fruitier as the beer warms. A lingering bitter spiciness coats the tongue and leaves the taste buds numb. This borderlines being astringent, and pulls back just before crossing that line.

This isn’t a monster IPA, but is unmistakably of high quality. Tasty and bittersweet - A quality IPA.

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4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a self-mixed six pack.
This beer poured a thin white head that stayed around for about 2 minutes, and then gave a thin lace thereafter.
The smell was a crisp, hoppy smell with a citrus quality.
The taste corresponded to the smell...big hops, with citrus and pine both prevalent flavors. There was a surprising amount of carbonation, and after it gave way, there was an oily, bitter, all hop finish that stuck around for quite some time. The pine notes get stronger and stronger. Some would probably argue that the malts in this beer can't quite back up the hops. I would say that overall North Coast has made a very solid, respectable IPA. I'm sure I'll be picking up a sixer of this sometime soon.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear, pale copper color from a 12 oz bottle, with ABV on the label, into a pint glass. No freshness date on the label.
Nice two finger head that dissipates to a nice persistent film with very nice lacing along the inside of the glass.
Aroma is a nice, mild blend of floral hops, some citrus interlacing with hints of pine.
Taste is malty upfront with the hops taking over towards the finish. This is a very taste IPA, the blend of hops with malt is just perfect.
Rich, smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Coats the palate beautifully, tickles every taste bud to the hilt.
Easy to drink, the alcohol began to warm me up towards the finish. All in all, this is a very good IPA, a solid brew from North Coast. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of SupaCelt
4.14/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Honey coloured and hazy. Small head of off white appearance. Not much resiliency to the head. Sluggish bubbles embark on their quest to join the ring that forms around the edge of my glass. A weird piece of debris just drifted into my view. What the hell is that? I hope that didn't fall out of my nose. Lacing is manifested but not very pronounced.

Smell: The smell gives off a very enticing hop boquet. A bizarre, restrained smell of vibrantly fresh hops. Despite being quite subdued, this scent seems to be the only perceptable scent present. Weird. Low odour, but still so inviting. Beer pheromones!

Taste: This brew has the most unique "homegrown" flavour I have ever run across in an IPA. The taste is so natural and raw. A fantastic grassy character jives with spruce and raw grain to produce a splendid result. Super earthy and wildly wild.

Mouthfeel: Not heavy, but moderate. Nicely carbonated and pleasing to the palate. Natural feeling.

Drinkability: Good. No problems foreseeable with dropping these into the abyss. The taste lends heavily to the urge for repetition. Nice.

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Photo of BierStein711
4.14/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a solid beer,

An IPA for people who don't like IPAs.

Two finger head, bottle poured into chalice

Burnt orange in color

Piney, hoppy, and malty like most IPAs, but not as potent as Sierra Nevada.

Mouthfeel is typical for the style.

Overall, this is a fine beer. But, I'm hunting it down for for a six pack soon.

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Photo of Avagadro
4.14/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pale amber in color, a touch of haze, and remarkable lacing. The most impressive aspect is the head, which is cloud-like in texture, and tenacious in retention.

S: There isn't a ton of hop aroma here, but there is a noticeable slant towards Pacific Northwest Hops.

T: A brief cameo of malt sweetness is quickly snubbed by an onslaught of piney Pacific Northwest hops. Juniper, rosemary, and a touch of grapefruit create a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

M: Light body, clean texture, and delightfully effervescent.

D: A well made IPA from a brewery that grows on me with every brew I try. It's not necessarily the best IPA out there, but it is certainly in the top tier.

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Photo of SteveO1231
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 6 pack from Trader Joe's.

Nice, bright amber pour, thick frothy off white head, very good lacing. Quite a bit of carbonation.

Decent, spicy hop aroma. Very crisp and refreshing initially, with a nice bitter hop finish. Aftertaste of citrus fruit.

Balanced IPA, very drinkable. I polished off the 6 pack before I knew it. I'd grab another next time in Trader Joe's.


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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fuzzy, flaked, flecked apricot-amber. It looks like someone squeezed some variety of citrus fruit into the glass, pulp and all. The beer is capped with a nice looking head of lemony dark cream that is semi-firm, persistent and chiseled as it deflates. A good bit of chunky lace graces the glass in sputters and spatters.

After the underhopped ACME APA, it crossed my mind that this beer might suffer a similar fate. My fears were unfounded if the nose is any indication. Although it isn't nostril candy, it is plenty hoppy. Citrus zest is the focal point, with a musky, mid-frequency pungency... as opposed to a bright, high-frequency, bright citrus burst. Some variety of floral hops have been added to the 'one or more of the 4-Cs' hop bill if I'm not mistaken.

California IPA is lovely stuff. It's abundantly clear that my hop deficiency worries were misplaced. There's a more than competent, biscuity maltiness on hand to push back against the fruity, lip-smacking hops. The balance is still a bit askew in favor of hoppy and bitter, but then balanced IPAs have never seemed quite right to me. Although this is far from hop juice, hopheads will find a lot to like.

I'm still convinced that some other, non-routine hop variety is in use; the flavor has just enough 'otherness' to keep that notion in play. I'm a little surprised at the 52 IBUs; I'd have guessed a little higher.

The long finish is somewhat resiny with echoes of white grapefruit pith and pine needles. The mouthfeel has a lot to recommend it; it's medium-full and smooth. Lace update: I continue to be impressed since crusty sheets are adorning more than half the glass at present.

ACME (why the shouting?) California IPA is a pleasant surprise after the lackluster showing of its little brother APA. California is bursting at the seams with quality (indeed, mind-blowing) IPAs. This beer clearly doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the all-time greats, even within its own state, but it's a fine example of the style. If I had access, I'd reserve a spot for it in my fridge.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Golden orange with a white one and half finger head that consists of foam, and small bubbles looking like pillowed clouds. Very good retention and medium lacing. Liquid itself has a slight haze.

S = Smells are softer than I expected, not bad but understated with a solid balanced mix of honey, orange marmalade, buttered croissants, very light pine.

T = A very nicely balanced beer. As with the smell there is a certain understated elegance to it. The hops are there and add nice bitterness, but the beer is really about balance with the tastes of buttered croissants lightly sprinkled with honey followed by a small spoonful of orange marmalade and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. The long finish though is much more herbal and bitter, leaving the mouth dry and waiting for more.

M = Medium-light body, decent mouthcoating, medium carbonation sting.

D = This is a perfect little IPA, not too overpowering and very balanced and flavorful. Drinks well and I look forward to more.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ACME IPA opidomizes the traditional identity of what west coast IPA's are. The crisp maltiness gives a modest and receeding caramel flavor without the cloying sweetness of caramel candies. Lightly bready and with a grahm cracker dry sweetness, the malts are ultimately clean and well attenuated.

But that's not why this beer is so good. It's all about the hops. Resiny and mouth coating with citrusy grapefruits, orange zest, and pineapple. Throw in shaddows of pine, lemon grass, and fresh cut herbs and we have a complex hop profile with refreshing and thirst quenching bitterness.

Because ACME IPA isn't larger than life, as are the Blind Pigs or the west coast, this one might share the same status as Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale: A basic error free beer that exemplifies the style to perfection but ultimately underminded because of it's moderate take on the style, and not the extreme. I beg to differ.

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Photo of unclejimbay
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

ACME California IPA
North Coast Brewing Co.
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.50 %
bottle>pint glass @ E Street week of 9/23/09

"A nice fragrantly hopped IPA, a bit thin on the malts, but respectable offering from NCNC"

Appearance is a lighter copper thanmost with good head and retention.
Smell/aroma is super hoppy with nice bold floral/citrus presence.
Taste is a bit thinner on the malts than I would prefer, but nicely floral/citrus hop forward profile.
MF/body is a bit thin and highly carbonated.
"Sessionable drinkability", not overly filling for an IPA, nice bold hoppy-ness without being overly malty and flling. Not the best offering by NCBC, but a nice respectable hop forward citrus/floral IPA.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After an abomination of a Wit, Orange Avenue Wit to be precise, I thought I needed something comical - enter ACME; the company that supplied Wile E. Coyote his weapons grade Plutonium in his quest to kill that damned Road Runner! Yes, sad as it is I was always hoped one day the coyote would win and roast that smug road runner over a slow burning fire (I was a strange kid indeed).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Slight cloudy amber body (there is some sediment floating around) and a rough 1cm white foam head, looks tasty.

S: Pine, citrus and fruity hops hit the nose straight away. It's no secret there's some hopping in this ale that is for sure. Apart from that there is not much else to detect grain/yeast-wise... it's all hops here, in fact just taking in another whiff there's a passionfruit hit as well.

T: Undeniably hop-driven taste. It's as described above; Pine, citrus and fruity hops assail with an added herbaceous character thrown in, it's like 'The Hop Brothers' - a fictional film involving two orphan brothers on a mission from God to save an orphanage by touring the country selling a hop filled ale they made themselves. The back end is a medicinal herb bitter but that is to be expected from 55 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

M: Medium bodied, light carbonation with hop oil slickness that is characteristic of these brews.

D: Damn fine on the Doktor Hops Scale (DHS). Novice beer-drinkers, from countries other than the US, beware! This is a fairly bitter beer due to the amount of hops and lack of (discernible) malt, work your way up to this with an English IPA or American Pale Ale, otherwise if you fancy a right bitter brew then dive in. This is a really top-shelf beer, however at the price you pay here in Australia is not worth it; get a Harviestoun Schiehallion for a brew that is less bitter but much better VFM (Value For Money).

Food match: Straight from their website: Fish Tacos with Citrus Salsa and Cabbage Slaw. Or anything with rocket.

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Photo of plinythethirsty
4.11/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beware. This is a dangerous brew. Its golden color, manageable, lacing head, mild malt scent, balanced taste and exceptional drinkability made me doubt its 6.5 abv. But, less than two beers in, I could feel the alcohol that North Coast Brewing has so adroitly managed to hide. This is not a bold-tasting, hoppy brew, despite a label promising otherwise. There's some bitterness near the finish, but missing is the grapefruity taste that you experience with other California IPA's. It's very smooth. Very, very drinkable. This could be a gateway beer for richer tasting IPA's, or the enticing session beer that you regret having a session with the next morning.

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Photo of wardough
4.11/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Pint glass at 49 degrees.

A: Pours a nice cloudy light amber. Fills up with a nice head of about 1 inch high. Head started to dissipate after 1 minute, which turns into course and fine head.

S: It's not an intense hoppy smell, but they're there. Malts come through next. Don't really get any citrus.

T: Light citrus, followed by very mellow hops. I like how this tastes.

M: With the head still clinging on, it's very smooth. Feels like full milk on the palate.

D: A very drinkable IPA.

An outstanding American IPA. Very drinkable, one that I could cozy up with on Saturday night.

The label says "California IPA". Not really true to a California IPA, one that is over the top with hops. This one is much more balanced than a California IPA.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.11/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a yellowish-orange color. A thin wisp of head to it but some nic lacing down the glass. Smell is nice and hoppy.. good start. Taste is bitter.. and very citrus like. This is probably the most citrus tasting IPA I've ever had and I must say, it's a good change up to the usual IPA. Drinkability is great as this is one of the highest ABV's I've encountered in an IPA.. it's stepping into DIPA boundaries with its 7.2% alcohol. Goes down almost too easy.. great beer, would try again.

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ACME California IPA from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.66 out of 5 based on 1,255 ratings.
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