Going Publick

southampton.jpgToday’s brew comes to us from the Hamptons – Southampton to be exact. Based out in the Hamptons in Long Island, Southampton Publick House brings us a really nice variety of beers. Today, I’m checking out their IPA.
Appearance: Pours with a large foamy head – about 1 inch. Body is a cloudy, dark orange. Not much lacing to speak of.
Aroma: Surprisingly abundant caramel malt scent for an IPA. Lots and lots of hops though, as one would expect. The first notable fragrance to hit me is banana, as well as other fruity tones like apple, peach and citrus. There’s a very faint yeasty smell, but it’s pretty much overpowered by the hops and malts.
Taste: Lots of hops and malts in this beer. Almost a little too much malt for the American IPA that this beer is supposed to be. Strikes me as a more English IPA maybe. This isn’t, mind you, a mark against this beer. Just not quite what I expected.
Mouthfeel: Standard IPA – medium body, oily feel. Not much of a lingering aftertaste.
Overall, this is a pretty good, drinkable beer. If you’re hop-crazy, stick with something a little stronger, but if you’d like a nice, smooth IPA, this one’s a keeper!

Devilshly hoppy

hopdevil.jpgHow cool is it that when I go home, my dad greets me with a case of Victory Hop Devil. Just for me! So thanks dad! Now we get to review the Hop Devil!
Hop Devil is an IPA, to be technical, it’s an “American” IPA, and it’s one of my favorites. While Victory brews several celebrated beers like their Prima Pils and Golden Monkey, I’m a hop-head. I really like the rich, not overly bitter taste of this beer.
Appearance: Pours with a huge head (about 3 fingers initially) and a cloudy dark orangey/amber color. The head lasts for quite a while, but there’s not a whole lot of lacing.
Aroma: Rich and hoppy. There’s a sweet caramel and grain malt smell, but of course, the hops just about knock you down. The heavy smell of hops – citrus, pine, perfumes, grass – is the big smell here. There’s also a faint doughy smell and a little bit of alcohol smell lingering.
Taste: The hops in this beer are great! I’ve had some beers that are hoppier, but somehow Victory manages to make a SUPER hoppy IPA with out the bitterness being overwhelming. It’s a different, richer kind of bitter. You taste those hops right up front, then that rich malty flavor comes through and lingers. On exhale, the hops really bloom. While this beer is obviously hoppy, and made for the hop-head, the malts do a great job of keeping the flavor under control.
Mouthfeel: This is a medium body beer with a oily mouthfeel. Despite the giant head, I don’t sense a lot of carbonation.

The Facts:
ABV: 6.7%

Hopped Up

lagunitas.jpgIt’s gotten to the point in my beer-tasting “career” that people think of me and pick up new beers they see. I’m very OK with that. Someone brought me this Lagunitas IPA, brewed in Petaluma, CA. Lagunitas says on their website that this IPA is brewed with “43 different hops and 65 various malts.” That’s a heck of a lot of flavor going on there, so I was ready to taste this sucker.
Appearance: This beer poured with a really big, fizzy white head, which left a lot of lacing. The first glass was a crystal clear ruby brown, but glass #2, the bottom of the bottle, had a lot of yeasty sediment.
Aroma: Considering all of the hops and malts going on in this beer, I didn’t catch a lot of smell. Whether it was my environment (lots of food smells going on when I tried this beer out) or my nose, I’m not sure. I mostly caught some bread and hay scents from the malts. A little bit of hops were present, floral and citrusy.
Taste: In contrast to the weak aroma, this beer was full of good flavor. Bitter hops up front rounded out by a really nice rich malt flavor. I really liked the balance of this beer.
Mouthfeel: Standard IPA mouthfeel for an IPA, watery to oily.
Overall, I must say I really enjoyed this beer, but I wonder if I should try it again soon. I didn’t find it incredibly hoppy or fragrant, whereas most of the reviewers on Beer Advocate found that it was.

The Facts:
ABV: 5.70%
IBU: 45.6
Original Gravity: 1.059

The Old Fashioned Sierra Nevada

snipa.jpgI’ve got to say that I find Sierra Nevada to be one of the best, widely available micro brews. I can always count on their Pale Ale at just about any local watering hole, though I’d never had their IPA. Since about 1980 Sierra Nevada has been brewing from Chico, CA. Now, it seems, that Sierra Nevada is available in pretty much all 50 states. That’s a great success story for micro brews and Sierra Nevada still puts out a quality beer.

Appearance: This beer pours with a huge head for an IPA, probably a little over an inch, that took a while to diminish. When it did, I had little mountains of lacing on the top of my glass. Color-wise, this IPA is a dark orangey-amber.
Aroma: Mostly a piney-resiny smell to this IPA, though I do detect hints of grass and slight citrus. I smell the malts a lot in this one. A toasted caramel fragrance as well as a slight yeasty dough smell.
Taste: On first taste, this beer came on pretty darn bitter. It had that metally-bottle kind of taste, if that makes sense at all. After the first sip though, it was all hops. Pretty bitter that fades to a pretty decent maltyness. Overall a pretty good reflection on the aroma.
Mouthfeel: A standard IPA mouthfeel, water to oily with a lively amount of carbonation.
Overall, I enjoyed this beer, but I think I prefer Sierra Nevada’s regular Pale Ale for which they’re so well known. While this one is a little more bitter, I didn’t note a whole lot of difference between the two (though I wasn’t drinking them back to back).

The Facts:
ABV: 6.9%

Compare and Contrast

ipa.jpgI begin my week-o-IPAs with two Double or Imperial IPA. The double/imperial (the terms are fairly synonymous) means that it’s brewed with even more hop flavor than the standard IPA. On trial today: The Goose Island Imperial IPA and the Great Divide Hercules Double IPA. Let’s start with the Goose Island:
Aroma: This IPA had an amazing aroma. Full of hops, lots of grapefruit, appley/pear fragrance, a slight hint of spices and slight toasty malt flavor.
Appearance: Gorgeous. This beer pours a nice fizzy dark amber/orangey color that brightens a little upon standing. The head forms a real foamy off-white but diminishes quickly
Flavor: Wow! This baby packs a punch. You really taste all those great fragrances that you smelled at first. Nice fruity hop flavor, followed by a gently toasted malt flavor. The hoppy aftertaste returns and sticks in your mouth afterward.
Mouthfeel: A lot of feel to this beer. It has a thick almost oily feel in the mouth. Carbonation is pretty average.
Overall, the Goose Island Imperial IPA was great, but I have to say, after plowing my way through the whole beer, the fruity flavor became a little overwhelming and a little drying.
Beer #2 – Great Divide:
Aroma: The Great Divide Hercules Double IPA is far less fragrant than the Goose Island. I smell all the great hop flavors and a nice doughy-yeasty flavor. Not as fruity as the Goose Island, but your average IPA aroma.
Appearance: Color is almost identical to the Goose Island IPA, though slightly more amber than orange. Lots of bubbles and a standard head that diminishes quickly. Both of these beers are really hazy, I can’t see through them. Almost like apple cider
Taste: After the taste of the Goose Island that was so fruity, at first I felt that this beer didn’t live up to it’s aroma. It actually doesn’t, but it’s really not too bad. Comparing beers back to back can be dangerous, but I thought it’d be a fun experiment. This Great Divide is pretty decent. At first you hit those citrusy, piney hops, then you taste a real nice roasted malt flavor and an aftertaste of yeasty, bready goodness. In the end, I thing this was a good, drinkable beer.
Mouthfeel: This beer was pretty highly carbonated and had that same oily feel. The fizzy carbon bubbles dance on your tongue. I’d venture to say it’s almost a little too carbonated, but nothing to make me not drink this beer. In the end, I found it a far greater session type beer than the Goose Island Imperial IPA.

The Facts – Goose Island Imperial IPA:
ABV: 9.1%
IBU: 85

The Facts – Great Divide Hercules Double IPA:
ABV: 9%
ABW: 7.0%
IBU: 90
SRM: 12

The IPA

Before tasting lots of IPAs let’s get to the bottom of exactly what an IPA is. The India Pale Ale is simply a standard Pale Ale with a higher hop and alcoholipajourney.jpg content, thus higher hop flavor and aroma. It all goes back to England in the early 1700s and a good friend of mine, George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery.
You see, many of the British had gotten quite comfy in India once the British East India Company established itself in the early 1700’s, but one thing was missing. Beer of course! These British-at-heart were craving a natural thing that any man craves. The only problem was, by the time ships brought beer from England, all the way around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope and back up to India, time and temperature had spoiled this sensitive beverage.
Eventually, George Hodgson thought to increase the amount of hops and alcohol in a pale ale. In doing so, the he did 2 things:
1 – The alcohol protected the beer from becoming overcome by unsavory microbes.
2 – The hops prevented the growth of bacteria that soured the beer.
He also found that higher carbonation levels and high attenuation (the addition of sugar during the boil and at casking) helped to preserve the flavor over the long voyage. Eventually when other brewers began to copy Hodgson’s formula, they began to use high-sulfate water as well, which gave the beer a clearer, crisper taste. As we all know, Gerge hit a slam dunk with this formula. Finally, our beer-loving brethren in India could enjoy a nice cold one.
The IPA was king in India for decades, as the first brewery in Asia didn’t start rolling out barrels until the 1820’s, and the style somewhat faded from history. Thanks be to the beer gods that Microbrewers today have come to appreciate all of the amazing flavors that those hops contributed. Nowadays, the IPA is a well-loved style. While somewhat changed from the original style used in the 1700’s because of aging and tastes, the most common American IPA is created with even more bitter flavor to exaggerate the taste. Hey we love to exaggerate here in the US of A!

To Spring!

hipa-copy.jpgThe spring seasonals are rolling out and I was lucky enough to score me Magic Hat Brewery’s Joe’s Garage variety pack. My first pick was the HI.P.A., as I’m an IPA kinda girl.
Appearance: The HI.P.A. poured a pretty sunset orangey-gold color with a nice off-white head that had pretty good retention. A pretty nice looking beer

Smell: This beer had a great hoppy smell to it. Man if I could bottle the smell of an IPA I think I’d wear it as perfume. It has a great resin type scent, a bit of citrus and pine, probably that green hop kind of smell.

Mouthfeel: This was somewhere between dry and watery to me, but that’s pretty standard for an IPA.

Taste: This starts out hoppy, then you taste the malts, maybe a little more hops and it leaves me with a bit of yeasty-citrusy aftertaste. Overall pretty good, but for an IPA, I want to be assaulted by hops. Maybe I’m biased because my favorite is the Victory Hop Devil – now those are hops! But for the most part, this was a pretty good IPA. Had I been drinking this in the proper climate – a nice warm summer day on the porch – instead of New York City, cooped into my apartment on a 20 degree March evening.

The Facts
IBU: 45
ABV: 6.8
Gravity: 1.066
SRM: 6.8

Dogfish Head IPA

I’d never heard of Dogfish until my local beer store owner recommended this beer to me. It was a pretty good IPA!Dogfish Ale I can’t say it’s one of my favorite IPAs, but it was easy to drink and flavorful. This IPA had all the normal characteristics of your standard IPA, hoppy, citrusy, a nice balance of bitterness/malts. But it had this really strange aftertaste that was bothering me and I couldn’t quite place. After browsing through some other reviews, I found some people describing it as “piney”. I think that must have been what I was tasting is that pine flavor. Others seemed to like it but for me it was only so-so. While I’d give Dogfish Head‘s IPA a good rating, I don’t know that I’ll be picking it up all the time. Based in Milton, Delaware, the Dogfish Head Brewery’s tag line seems to be “Off-centered stuff for off-centered people“. The brewery also concocts what seems to be some pretty extreme brews. I think they’ve got my number in that area and maybe they’re better suited to these kinds of beers. Now I just have to figure out how to get my mitts on them!

The Facts:
ABV: 6%
IBU: 60