What is mouthfeel? Any good teacher will steer you away from circular definitions, but the way I like to define it is "how beer (or anything else...) feels in your mouth."
Wikipedia says, "Mouthfeel is a product's physical and chemical interactionin the mouth, an aspect of food rheology. It is a concept used in many areas related to the testing and evaluating of foodstuffs, such as wine-tasting and rheology. It is evaluated from initial perception on the palate, to first bite, through mastication to swallowing and aftertaste. In wine-tasting, for example, mouthfeel is usually used with a modifier (big, sweet, tannic, chewy, etc.) to the general sensation of the wine in the mouth. Some people, however, use the traditional term texture. Mouthfeel is often related to a product's water activity, hard or crisp products having lower water activities and soft products having intermediate to high water activities."
I like my definition better. It's much more approachable.
Anyway, why am I thinking about mouthfeel? Mouthfeel can make a good beer excellent, or keep a good beer from greatness. I like big beers. Big amount of hops, big amount of flavor, and big amount of mouthfeel. Usually, a big amount of alcohol comes along with that. That's fine I suppose, but I can't drink as much as I used to without getting a big headache the next day. And with two young kids at home, headaches suck. A lot. So my propensity for drinking big beers really limits the number of beers I allow myself to drink at one time. That's why I was so excited to try Flying Dog's new Easy IPA, a 4.2% ABV sessionable brew. I had the great fortune to try this before the official launch next week during Frederick Beer Week. Here's what I think: its pretty much perfect! By adding flaked barley the brewers can create mouthfeel without all the alcohol. It is only 50 IBU, but there are huge lemony citrus and peach flavors thanks to the Galaxy, Amarillo, and Sorachi Ace hops. It truly is a small beer that tastes big. I could (and will if given the opportunity) drink several in one session without getting a headache the next day! Flying Dog is quite possibly my favorite brewery and Easy IPA is quite possibly my favorite beer they have made! 5 out of 5, well done!
Want to hear more straight from the brewers' mouths? Then check out this video: