Archive for IPA Monday
Thanksgiving week is upon us, a time filled with family, food, and Uncle Junior’s embarrassing drunkenness. But before the turkey fires can set off your smoke detectors, it’s a simple fact that this holiday week MUST kick off with a bold and hoppy brew.
For this IPA Monday, I’ve chosen to drink Mayflower IPA. If you’re looking for a “Pilgrim-themed” IPA to help you start off a shortened workweek, you would be hard-pressed to find a better beer. Mayflower’s India Pale Ale is 7% ABV, 69 IBU, and is brewed with four different types of hops: Nugget, Simcoe, Glacier, Amarillo.
Did you know that beer is featured prominently in the Pilgrims’ historic journey aboard the Mayflower? According to the Mayflower Brewing Company’s website . . .
“. . . beer was the staple drink on board the Mayflower. Unlike water, which quickly spoiled when stored in the hold of ships, beer contained no bacteria, and the then-recent introduction of hops made it keep longer. It was also a terrific source of carbohydrates. Men, women and children drank beer daily, and sailors aboard the Mayflower received a daily ration of a gallon.”
If IPA Monday is an excuse to try new hoppy beers, then I’ve certainly begun my week on a successful note. I’ve never had a beer from the 21st Amendment Brewery, but the San Francisco producer has a reputation for crafting fine beer.
In fact, 21st Amendment made headlines this year for brewing a “Twitter Beer” called Spring Tweet — like a Twitter stream, the beer is “unfiltered” and described by the brewmaster as “a little rough around the edges“. (The Twitter Headquarters are a short distance from the brewery.)
Cans of their craft beer have appeared on store shelves here in New England, so I scooped up their IPA called “Brew Free! Or Die”. Originally called simply, “21st Amendment IPA”, the brewery gave it a catchy new name to coincide with last year’s canned release.
It’s IPA Monday, so let’s start with the bottle description of tonight’s IPA:
“Titan IPA is a big, aggressively hopped India Pale Ale brewed for hop disciples. It starts out with piney hop aromas and citrus hop flavors, and finishes with a nice rich, malty sweetness that is balanced with crisp hop bitterness.”
Hey, that sounds pretty good. But I’ve heard lots of boasting about hops, and only rarely does the actual beer come through on those pre-built expectations.
I’m pleased to report that Great Divide’s Titan IPA has a fair amount of hop taste — but by no means will this beer induce a hop-attack. Instead, the emphasis in the description should be placed on the word “balance”; flavorful hops and robust malt push against each other like some sort of team-building, trust exercise.
Not that I needed an excuse, but this one-a-day beer challenge has given me a great reason to discover new beer. However, what really gets me going is the thrill that comes from finally drinking an as-yet-unexplored legend.
I’ve indulged in Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA already this year, but I had a fair amount of trouble tracking down a bottle of 120 Minute IPA. The IPA is brewed in limited quantities, and I spent many of my beer runs chasing Dogfish Head rumors and 120 Minute IPA sightings from liquor store to home brew supply house and back. This monster of a beer had nearly become my White Whale before I stumbled across several bottles stocked at my usual beer supplier.
If any beer deserves legendary status, it’s the 120 Minute IPA. This Imperial India Pale Ale clocks in at around 120 IBUs and between somewhere between 18% and 20% ABV. That range for ABV is because Dogfish Head has tweaked the recipe over the years — and from what I can tell, they’ve settled on about 18% ABV as the right balance. My bottle is young (filled May 2009) so I’m assuming it is 18% ABV. As for the IBU rating — don’t let that 120 rating intimidate you, because this beer’s sweetness overcomes just about every bit of bitterness.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Fans of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s 90 Minute IPA may be scrambling to find one of the Delaware brewer’s latest limited releases. Squall IPA is a re-imagined version of 90 Minute IPA — 100% bottle conditioned, dry hopped with six different hop varieties, and only available in a few East Coast states.
The 750 ml bottle has an arresting logo, an inky black-on-white image of a clipper ship. If the funky design with throw-back text reminds you of a surf-shirt, that’s because Squall is a collaboration with Rogues Gallery, a surf-clothing shop in Portland, ME. Brewery founder Sam Calagione “fell in love” with Rogues Gallery and since the clothing company was “down with getting their chocolate in Dogfish Head’s peanut butter“, the two companies worked together to create a beer — Squall IPA — and a line of clothing “to wear while drinking beer at a sunset beach bonfire”.