Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

5 Day IPA

O’Fallon Brewery
O’Fallon, MO

Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
ABV: 6.1%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

I have to admit, I was a little unsure about this review. Although I have a number of selections in storage that I plan on reviewing, Saturday rolled around and I was at a total loss as to which one I should choose. All but one are brews that I’m a bit skeptical of, and the one I am confident about didn’t seem quite ready to be opened.

As I was surfing the net for porn, I received an instant message from my girlfriend, Danish Princess, asking me what I was up to. After convincing her that I was watching college hoops and golf while studying politics online, I told her she should use her free time to help me select the appropriate beer to review. Danish Princess is in her final year of college studying to be a nurse, so she has clinicals all day on Saturdays where she gets hands-on experience with a variety of crucial, life-saving procedures, including computer solitaire and crossword puzzles (no, this does not bode well for the future of health care in this country). Thus, I knew she would be able to help me, since she had nothing to do between emptying bedpans and fluffing pillows. (At least I HOPE it was pillows she was fluffing …)

“Uh, the one with the green label … how the hell should I know?” was her reply.

Honestly, while the response may seem vague and/or bitchy to outsiders, I appreciated hearing something from her that wasn’t the standard “I don’t know/care.” I figured since she’s on the verge of getting a nursing degree from a prestigious, private engineering school (that’s right, I said engineering school) it was best not to argue with her somewhat questionable logic. Nigel has a European history degree from a public state university, so I’m just happy that I know the color green when I see it.

There were two “green” options in storage: Bells Hopslam, one of my all-time favorites (but previously reviewed), and a strange box that said “O’Fallon” on the side. I purchased O’Fallon 5 Day IPA about a month ago since I had never in my life had a beer from Missouri (notice I said beer, as any unfortunate past forced consumption of A-B swill doesn’t count). Not only was O’Fallon unusually packaged in a box, it was very reasonably priced at $5.99. As a bonus, it claims to be heavily hopped with Northwest gold, so it has the potential to be right up my alley. Perhaps Danish Princess was on to something with this “green” idea … or perhaps she’s trying to poison me. We shall see.

I did some research on O’Fallon before indulging in their product (this “research” involved going to their web site … six years of college has paid off for Nigel). Founded in 2000 in O’Fallon, Missouri, which is 35 miles northwest of downtown St. Louis, O’Fallon has a modest lineup of about five year-round brews and another five or so limited releases. While the web site didn’t give any indication that I should be leery, I remained that way for a couple of reasons. First of all, with craft beer prices soaring, it’s very hard for me to believe that anything of quality can be sold at $5.99 for a six pack. Hell, you can barely buy macros for that price. I live less than a mile from Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, and their products retail for around $7.49 here. Even shit beer from Leinenkugel’s, which is a locally produced, psuedo-micro swill, costs the same or more than that. On top of the unusual price, the presentation at the local retailer left much to be desired. O’Fallon was on the very bottom shelf, covered in dust and salt residue (thank you, winter) between other obscure, no-name breweries and on the surface just didn’t seem to have much to offer.

However, as I’ve stated many times in past reviews, I enter this with an open mind. Perhaps Nigel located a bargain buy, a craft beer diamond-in-the-rough from a state that I once believed was run by the Busch family and had thus outlawed any type of small scale beer production. The commercial description from O’Fallon regarding 5 Day IPA claims “we dry hop this American Style IPA with seven grains and four domestic hop varieties by adding dry whole hops to the finishing tank so the beer rests “on top” of the hops for five extra days … malty sweetness up front, with big cascade and glacier hops in the finish …” If that description is correct, this could be very good.

5 Day IPA pours with a huge pillowy white head that dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a nice creamy foam at the top throughout the drink. Despite the rapid settling of the head, my first impression is that this is too over-carbonated for an IPA. A rich apricot color is interrupted by a good amount of sedimentation (thankfully, this appears to be unfiltered) and some bubbles dancing from bottom to top. The aroma is disappointing for Nigel, who was anticipating a bit more Cascade hop characteristics given the description. While it is hoppy, the scent of sweet caramel malt seems to have beaten up the piney hops and now sits in the first chair in this aromatic orchestra. As the malt and hops battle for top billing, a somewhat unpleasant stale aroma comes through in the background, which downgrades this a bit.

The taste is good, but ultimately this falls squarely in the three mug “average” range. While I do agree that this is an American IPA (frankly, it has to be since it uses Northwest hops), it has a malt profile that is very reminiscent of its English brethren. Like the aroma, the taste is a delicate balance of sweet caramel malt and piney Northwest hops. Initial grainy, earthy tones are quickly bombarded with Cascade gold, giving it a noticeable grapefruit and coniferous tinge, all while being underscored by the significant malty backbone. While the zip of light, citrusy fruit (grapefruit, orange zest, and apple) and Northwest hops (I taste Cascade for certain … I believe Centennial as well, and perhaps Chinook … I can’t pinpoint the last two) balances nicely with the malt and gives it a good amount of flavor, all in all this is too inconspicuous to be anything other than average. Medium in body with a decent mouthfeel, 5 Day IPA goes down smooth with a semi-strong aftertaste. With a modest 6.1 percent ABV, it’s flavorful enough to be enjoyed as a session brew if you’re so inclined.

My first Mizzou brew wasn’t bad, though it’s certainly not in the upper echelon of IPAs. However, I will say that if $5.99 is in fact a normal retail price, it’s certainly a good “bang for your buck” brew, and I’d suggest giving it a shot. I’ve been left with a favorable enough impression that I hope to try something else by O’Fallon in the near future, and they’ve sufficiently allayed my perhaps unwarranted fears. Here’s to the future of craft beer in Missouri … God only knows, they need all of our support to flourish in the shadow of the enemy.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on February 21, 2008.
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