The featured beer painting is by Harpoon Brewing Company on the Boston waterfront. No, they are not brewing up a bunch of tea at the Boston Harbor; it is the original New England IPA, Harpoon India Pale Ale. A very balanced IPA, it has way fewer IBUs than a West Coast style IPA. At 5.9% ABV, this is a nice-drinking IPA. You may be able to drink more than one and still function like a normal non-beer-swilling adult. Cascade hops bring out great flavors of citrus and pine, actually one of my favorite hops, and obviously not grown anywhere near Boston. I was born East of the Cascades, and I never knew hops grew there until after I moved to Alaska. Of course, most seven year olds don’t know what hops are, unless their family owns a hop yard, or a brewery. I am betting the other hop added to this beer is Centennial, normally used as the bittering hop in a west coast IPA. These Guys have been making this “strong” beer since 1993, making it 21 years old in 2014 and old enough to go drinking on it’s own. When this finely crafted beer came out, it was supposed to be a summer seasonal, and soon became the most popular offering from Harpoon. Two years later, in 1995, Sockeye Red IPA was born in Anchorage, Alaska, to put it in perspective for those who live up north. As we watch the craft beer world exploding, the artistic nature of beer is forced to go to new and interesting places. What once was pushing the limits with hop additions is now being replaced by strange and new flavors like mint chocolate chip in Spring House Brewing’s Satan’s Bake Sale Stout, which I hear tastes just like Girl Scout cookies. Leading the way with new and unusual artistic beers are home brewers. I tasted a Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout last night, that‘s right, this beer was brewed with bull testicles! I found it to be quite delicious. And this type of thing is happening in the commercial beer world as well, with Dogfish Head releasing a beer brewed with scrapple, a sausage resembling headcheese. Oh, the crazy world of beer! Harpoon IPA is a bit removed from the brewing heritage of the European classic pilsners, and English bitters, but here in America it seems like a well-crafted safe option compared to some of the more avant-garde brews.
Cheers to Harpoon Brewing! A great brewery in Boston! Keep up the good work, you have a whale of a catch with this great IPA! Thank you, Bruce, for sending me three bottles!