During lat night’s end of the Phillies season (sob), I was drowning my sorrows in a couple of India Pale Ales. I love a good IPA, but sometimes I feel like IPAs taste a bit… samey. However, the two I had last night were both exceptional and distinct.
Stone IPA: Stone is known for being very aggressive in their marketing and their beers. This is one of their more “normal” brews, but damn if it isn’t one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had. It pours a light, clear golden/orange color with a decent sized head. Smells floral and citrusy. The taste starts sweet, with a crisp, bitter finish. Refreshing, tasty and superbly balanced mixture of sweet and bitter. I actually had this on tap earlier this week and loved it then too (honestly, it seemed even better on draft, though that could have been because of all the drinking done before I got to this one). Not sure how many of these I had on that occasion, but it’s definitely something I could drink all night. It’s a solid A, and one of my favorite discoveries of late.
Beer Nerd Details: 6.9% ABV bottled (12 oz). Drank out of a pint glass.
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA: Dogfish Head is a brewery known for its mad scientist stylings, producing flavor and alcohol bombs that are best consumed in relatively small quantities. This one, though, is very drinkable. Pours a little darker than the Stone and the smell is less citrusy and more bitter. Not as refreshing as the Stone either, but there’s a more flavorful bitter finish. Bitterness is definitely the center of attention here. It lingers a bit longer and is more complex than most IPAs. I guess not as well-balanced as the Stone, but it’s hard to really find any fault here, especially if you’re a hophead. A-
Beer Nerd Details: 6.0% ABV bottled (12 oz). Drank out of a pint glass.
There we have it. It’s hard to beet this duo, though I’ve got another double feature planned with a few more aggressive IPA style.
6 thoughts on “Double Feature: IPA”
If I might make a recommendatio or two, along IPA lines: Captain Lawrence Double IPA…big hop flavor, big 9% beer…a lot going on.
And the Maharaja (sp?) from Avery…amazing citrus hop flavor like grapefruit…hard to find, but amazing.
“Hard to find, but amazing” – There seem to be a lot of these beers out there. A quick check of a local beer store shows that there are no Captain Lawrence beers available around here and only a few Avery beers (including an “IPA” and a “Dugana IPA”), but I’ll certainly keep my eyes open.
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I’ve never had it, but my buddy Jeff was telling me about an IPA from Brewdog, that’s actually aged in ships, to replicate the original dry hopping/aging of IPAs on the journey from Britain to the Indian subcontinent…supposedly, the motion of the ship effects the conditioning of the beer. I can’t decide if that’s ridiculous or really cool.
It doesn’t surprise me that Brewdog would do something like that. They’re the Scottish Brewery that’s always creating those mega-strong, 40% ABV beers, right? You know, the ones that come in squirrel carcasses? It doesn’t surprise me that a brewery like that would go to extremes to recreate a “true” IPA. Gimmicky? Probably. But hell, I’ll try it!
Wow, I thought the squirrel carcass thing was a joke, until I did some wiki-reading about Brewdog. Apparently their 12% or so beer raised the ire of some watchdog group, so they brewed a 1.1% beer and called it “Nanny State.” They then launched a campaign to own the title of “World’s Strongest Beer,” brewing beers at 35%, 40%, and as of this summer, 55% ABV. The beer at 55% ABV is packaged in actual dead, stuffed animals, and apparently the stuff sells for about $1500!
The stuffed carcasses apparently caused an uproar…that IS gross, but also hilarious. I must have beer made by these guys!
I’ve definitely seen some Brewdog stuff around, but none of the more extreme stuff like the 55% (or, for that matter, Nanny State). I think the one that’s readily available here is called Chaos Theory, which is an “english IPA”. I’ve actually heard that one of their super strong beers is actually quite good (i.e. not just a high alcohol gimmick). I think it’s called Sink the Bismark or something like that.