Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA


Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA

IPA / Destihl Low / 4%

SoundBoard, available to consumers year-round beginning this month, is a melody of Citra, Cascade, Summit & Simcoe hops playing off light but balanced malt, for a sublimely mixed beer that is sessionable and blissful music to all the senses.

While more and more breweries are experimenting with higher alcohol options like Double IPAs and Imperial Stouts, there is a segment of beer drinkers that still needs to be tailored to, and wise beermakers have recognized this. Often labeled sessions beers, breweries are doing their best to craft these low-abv offerings that still contain all of the flavor characteristics of their boozier brethren. For those of us who enjoy beer so much that we don’t want to stop imbibing after one or two, this is a great trend that I hope will only continue.

Destihl Brewery, based out of Normal, Illinois, is one of these companies that is creating interesting brews while keeping them low in both calories and alcohol content. While they don’t label it a “session” beer, their Hazy IPA named Soundboard comes in at just 4.0 percent abv and is clearly marketed as low-cal. It is part of their Deadhead IPA Series, which also consists of four more Hazys that call come in around seven percent alcohol by volume or higher. One thing is for sure, the brewery has some experience crafting Hazy IPAs, so let’s see if they were able to maintain quality while putting together a lighter and healthier option. Here is my Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA review.

Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA Review

One thing that is clear from the moment you see a can of Soundboard on the shelf – they aren’t skipping any steps in terms of appearance when it comes to this Lo-Cal IPA. The label is a matte black with their Deadhead IPA Series log front and center – an intimidating skull donning a bushy beard and green bandana encircled by rainbow colors. The beer is clearly labeled as low in calories, with the tally of 99 on the front of the can, but there is no clear display of the lowered abv.

The tagline on the label “Support flavor. Boycott bland,” leads me to believe that this isn’t just designed to be a lighter option for those who want something toned tone. It seems apparent that they expect this brew to have all the complexity of a stronger IPA, as the label also lists the inclusion of Citra, Cascade, Summit, and Simcoe Hops. The pour is where things start to divert from a traditional Hazy. At first glance, it didn’t even appear hazy to me, and the color is unsurprisingly a much lighter shade of gold. As it settled, the opaqueness set in and the moderate head showed some good retention.

Taking in a big whiff, all of those hops are not really that obvious. Instead, the dominant aroma that I get is vegetal with some grassy notes. This beer does come in at just 38 IBUs, so even though there are a variety of hops within, it isn’t surprising that they take a slight backseat. They are present on the nose once you dig a little bit deeper. There are also faint citrus notes, mostly orange, around the edges.

Overall the aroma doesn’t seem to tip off what to expect from the flavor. So the only way to properly evaluate this brew and answer the question, “Is Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA good?” is to take the first swig.


Is Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA Good?

Perhaps I should have anticipated this, but the thing that stand out the most up on tasting is just how light and drinkable this beer is. The taste follow the nose pretty well. Unfortunately, that means that there aren’t many strong flavors present on the tongue either.

The grassy quality is there, and the hops are easier to discern, but they could still stand to be turned up a couple of notches. The orange citrus notes are still rather faint. There is no malt to speak of, but I do sense a decent amount of wort in there.

All of these toned down flavors in combination with a medium-light body make for something that goes down very easily. But there aren’t enough fruit flavors to make it quite as bright and refreshing as you want it to be.

Despite the fact that I see it being easy to crush a handful of these bad boys, it lacks the qualities that I look for in something suited for day drinking at the beach or a backyard cookout. This strikes me as more of a evening beer for those who don’t want to fill up too much or feel the after effects the next day.

Many beers, particularly IPAs, that have low calorie and alcohol content suffer from similar problems to this one. It doesn’t ruin them entire, but leaves me wanting more from all of the elements. There is a bit of a curve to grade on, so we’ll see what that means for my final Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA rating.


Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA Rating

I often find it a bit tricky to give a fair rating to low-abv beers that have flavor profiles similar to this one. The grassy, vegetal quality that I found in this beer seems to be fairly common in brews of this sort, and it also seems to be a bit of a turn off for a lot of people. On the other hand, I personally don’t mind that flavor at all and sometimes find it quite appealing. In this specific case, it is relatively toned down and makes for a light, drinkable IPA that doesn’t truly remind me of a typical hazy. It could benefit from the addition of more citrus and probably a good amount more hops.

Most of the ingredients for a quality hazy are there. They have just been pulled back a little too far, I assume in the process of reducing calories and alcohol. While the dominant flavors aren’t offensive to my tastes, I understand that many people do not enjoy them. For this reason, I can’t in good conscience end this Destihl Soundboard Lo-Cal Hazy IPA review by giving it a score any higher than 3 out of 5 stars. At the same time, it is refreshing and drinkable enough to prevent it from scoring any lower than that. So that’s where we land. There are plenty of ways it could be better, but the foundations are definitely there.



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