The mere mention of “Webster” can make some people’s eyes glaze over as they imagine the vast body of water that must be crossed in order to arrive in the New World. I imagine the formidable Irondequoit Bay would be enough to turn away the likes of Christopher Columbus, Leif Erikson, and Dora the Explorer. Despite the great barrier that lies between us, I made the trek “all the way to Webster” on April 20 to get a taste of Knucklehead Craft Brewing’s Grapefruit Twist Day-da-Day IPA.
If you’ve never been, Knucklehead takes an interesting approach to their beer menu. You can always find their Flagship Ales on tap, including Kathy’s Kreme Ale, Ehret’s Amber Ale, Out of Seitz Scotch Ale, Knockout Stout, “105” Belgian IPA, and Day-da-Day IPA. They are all solid, dependable brews that satisfy a wide range of tastes. Having recently celebrated their one year anniversary, Knucklehead has been branching out from time to time with some interesting seasonals. When I heard they were going to do a one-off “Grapefruit Twist” on their IPA, I had to check it out.
But I don’t like IPAs, I can hear you saying. They’re too bitter. I know, I know. I felt the same way. It’s interesting because I’ve been coming back to IPA’s lately, as many new styles have come about that are not so “hop forward,” which is a way of saying they aren’t so bitter. I recently got turned on to Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin lately, having enjoyed a fresh pint at Stout Bar (2001 Main Street, Rochester). From all the research I’ve been able to do (five minutes on Google), “sculpin” is a recipe developed by Ballast Point, named after a tropical fish. Which really does explain a lot if you don’t think about it too long.
The place is easy to find from the Bay Road exit off Route 104. I arrived in Webster just after 6:00, and already the comfortable tasting room was filling up. Obviously, Knucklehead caters to a loyal local crowd who enjoy the regular line-up. Still, the warm weather brought out a fair number of golf-shirt-clad imbibers who lined up to try the Grapefruit Twist. One thing I noticed right away is the staff behind the bar is relatively young, and sometimes a new face can get lost in the crowd of eager regulars shouting out their orders.
I waited my turn and got my pint, though. And what a pint! The deep golden color was very attractive. But the taste was even better. The grapefruit essence provided a wonderful balance for the already delicious hop flavors. Already I was regretting that this would be my only night to enjoy this brew, as I heard they had only made a half-barrel for this one-off. I had relocated myself to the far left end of the bar, which is where I realized all of the Important Business takes place. I recognized I was talking to one of the owners (name escapes me) and we both made comparisons to Ballast Point, and I tried to encourage the Grapefruit Twist to become a seasonal offering for the summer.
I enjoyed two pints of Grapefruit Twist with and order of fresh-baked Bavarian pretzel sticks and cheese sauce. I had another appointment that night, otherwise I would have stayed for dinner (something on my to-do list).