So yesterday was “National IPA Day” and I figured I’d use that to give a shout out to the beer that pays my rent, Harpoon IPA. Everyone needs to be able to appreciate an IPA. They may not be for everyone, but if you can enjoy one then you can truly say that you’re a beer drinker.
India Pale Ales were debatably first brewed in the 16 century in Britain during the colonization of India. The British empire needed to produce a beer that would be able to last the long, sweaty sea voyage from London to India. The troops had to drink something. That’s a long way. All the way down the west coast of Africa, around the southern tip, and then back north up the east coast to the Indian coast. So, they loaded the beer with hops as a preservative hoping the beer wouldn’t spoil.
Pale malts were starting to become the norm around this time although stouts and porters were still the beer of choice amongst the common man. But it was this lighter, amber colored beer that generated a unique position in the world beer landscape of the time. Hopped up and light. There really wasn’t anything like it before. And they soon became the beer of choice amongst the British elite, especially in India.
There are a ton of IPA’s out there. The style has basically been a whoring ground for brewers to just go crazy. It’s arguable that the average ABV of an IPA now is around 6-7% with an IBU of like, 70 or something. Really insane. A lot of that has to do with the fact that American brewers, especially west coast American brewers (where the craft beer revolution basically got off it’s feet) have really dug into the style, pushing the envelope and getting creative. Tons of hops and complex malt bills that result in big, fruity and bitter offerings. And that’s a great thing and something to appreciate.
So that’s why I think the Harpoon IPA deserves a bit of credit. It’s what we like to call “a table IPA”. Something you can session and not be floored by booze and hop bitterness. It’s a beer with a delicate balance and looks sexy as hell in a glass. Just a simple blend of pale, victory, and caramel malts and bittered with Apollo and Cascade hops. And during conditioning we dump in around 4o pounds of fresh Cascade hops to give you that nice, citrusy, floral aroma. Dang. The end result? Something beautiful.
I wish you West Coast readers could get Harpoon out there. But if you’re ever on the East Coast please take my advice and indulge in an IPA. You won’t be disappointed.