Tag Archives: India Pale Ale

Narragansett 122nd Anniversary Imperial IPA Now Shipping

Narragansett 122nd Anniversary Imperial IPA

Providence, Rhode Island’s Narragansett Beer Co. is now shipping a brand new beer, its 122nd Anniversary Imperial IPA.

Narragansett, which is known for its mediocre lager beer and silly “Hi Neighbor!” motto, is enjoying a bit of a revival in and around New England these days, due to its PBR-esque hipster appeal. The brewery is apparently trying to capitalize on this, and the current popularity of American IPA throughout the country, with its own double IPA.

From Narragansett:

“Celebrate ‘Gansett’s storied 122 years in business with the limited-edition Imperial IPA. Released in a 22-ounce bomber bottle, the IPA is chock-full of references to Narragansett’s anniversary. The label is styled after an early Private Stock Ale label used by the company when they began brewing ales in the late 1890s, which underscores ‘Gansett’s heritage as one of the original craft brewers in New England.

“Narragansett Imperial IPA was crafted with the best of American and German ingredients, to reflect the great history and legacy behind the brand.  We used American 2-row pale malt as the base for this beer, and German Specialty malts to build the back bone and flavor profile of this beer.

“Summit hops were used for all the kettle hopping, and then we used a mix of Northern Brewers, Hallertau, Tettanager, and Sazz hops at a rate of 2 lb.’s per bbl for our dry hopping.  This Imperial IPA will weigh in at 8.6 percent ABV with a target IBU of 122 to reflect the age of Gansett as a company.

“Narragansett Imperial IPA is brewed under the supervision of award-winning Brewmaster Sean Larkin at Trinity Brew House in Providence, R.I. It will be  available for purchase for a limited time throughout all of New England, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.”

I’m not really a big Narragansett drinker, but I’ll pick up one of these bombers when I see one, if for no other reason than to support local New England brewers. I’m not expecting much, but who knows? I was pleasantly surprised by Narrangansett’s Bock beer.

UBN

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Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA Review

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA

This week Stone Brewing Co. shipped the third batch of its Enjoy By IPA to 10 states, and beer nerds everywhere—well, beer nerds in or around those 10 states—scrambled to grab a few bottles before it disappears. (I picked up six bottles on Tuesday, November 20, the day it hit Boston. I drank three bottles over the past few days, and I have three more in my refrigerator.)

The idea behind Stone’s Enjoy By IPA—all three batches were made with the same recipe—is to use extremely fresh ingredients and then get the beer into customers’ hands as soon as possible after it’s bottled, to demonstrate just how important freshness can be to beer. The date in the name, in this case 12.21.12, is the date by which the beer is supposed to be at its best.

So does Stone’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 double IPA live up to all of the hype? Yes…with a few caveats.

Stone puts a lot of love and care into every single beer it brews, and Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA is no exception. What sets this big ol’ double IPA apart is that Stone supposedly brewed it “specifically NOT to last.” I’m not really sure what that means, and Stone hasn’t said.  I’m guessing it just means it’s not pasteurized and doesn’t have any preservatives, but that’s not exactly rare; IPAs and hoppy beers are generally better when they’re fresh, and the best don’t have preservatives. Stone’s definitely not the only brewer to stress this fact, either. Russian River Brewing Co., maker of Pliny the Elder, one of my favorite IPAs, prints instructions to consume the beer as soon as possible on every bottle. And the majority of craft beer today has bottling dates, though it’s usually printed in barely-noticeable, small text and not mentioned in the name of the beer.

Anyway, on to my Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 review.

Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA is available in 22-ounce bottles and on draft. I vigorously poured my bottle into a tall Stone Arrogant Bastard glass, and it formed a thick ivory-colored head of fine bubbles. The ale itself is golden with amber hues.

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA Logo

One of my favorite things about this beer is its smell. It stinks, in a good way. The aroma is truly amazing. It smells of sticky, pungent hops and mild alcohol. I enjoyed smelling this beer as much as I did drinking it.

The beer is extremely crisp and clean at first, as you might expect from such a fresh brew. The initial taste is malty and refreshing, followed by a serious hop smack in the face. It has a notable “dank” marijuana-like taste. This is one seriously hoppy and bitter brew. It’s also surprisingly drinkable for a 9.4%ABV double IPA. You only get a slight warming alcohol flavor.

The intense hop flavor is a result of some ridiculous hopping during the brewing process. Stone literally used 11 different types of hops: Calypso; Super Galena (extract); Simcoe, Delta, Target, Amarillo, Motueka, Citra, Cascade; Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy. I can’t think of another IPA with so much hop variety. And it shows.

My bottles cost $10 each, which isn’t cheap, but I don’t feel burned.

I was genuinely impressed by Stone’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA…but something rubs me the wrong way about the whole presentation. It feels like a marketing gimmick, and I don’t like feeling as though I’m being sold something other than a really fresh beer. The craft beer world is full of weird gimmicks right now, and I understand why. The market is extremely competitive, and brewers will do just about anything to differentiate themselves from competitors. But I guess I kind of expect more from Stone.

Again, this Enjoy By IPA is a great beer, so I’m not trying to knock Stone. At the same time, I bet it will taste just fine in a couple of months—maybe not as good as it does today, but it’s not as if the brew will spoil or something. Stone doesn’t need to convince me to drink its beers with marketing gimmick. It has already earned my respect through quality brewing.

Stone’s Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA gets a 9 out of 10 on the Urban Beer Nerd Scale. (It currently has a BeerAdvocate.com score of 94/100 based on 111 users reviews.)

Check out the above video or visit Stone’s website for more details. (And read my recent list of noteworthy IPAs all hop lovers should drink at least once for more recommendations on awesome hoppy brews.)

UBN

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10 Damn-Near-Perfect IPAs All Hopeless Hop Heads Should Try at Least Once

Cascade Hops IPA

I love India Pale Ales. All kinds of ’em. And I’m proud of my obsession with hops and hoppy beers. In fact, I make it a point to try just about every IPA I can get my hands on. The result of this hop quest, besides a thinner wallet and my fair share of hangovers: I know my IPAs.

I appreciate all kinds of hops, and I’ve tried to learn their specific tastes and what sets them apart from other families of Lupus Salictarius—that’s right, fool, I just dropped a Lupus Salictarius on your ass.

While perusing Reddit.com/r/beer the other day, I saw a conversation about the best IPAs. Most of the beers mentioned were solid. (Those fucking Reddit beer nerds know their shit.) But the thread got me thinking about my own personal favorite IPAs. I don’t usually like to think of individual beers as the “best,” because I don’t really think it’s that simple; there’s no “best IPA.”

But here is a list of some of my current favorites. I mostly think of all IPAs as part of the same big (hoppy) family, single, double, whatever; some just have higher ABVs. So you’ll find a wide variety of IPA types in my list. Which IPAs are your favorite and why?

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  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper IPA
  2. Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA (Read more about Pliny)
  3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  4. Alpine and New Belgium Super IPA
  5. Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA (Check out my Maine Lunch IPA review.)
  6. Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
  7. Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA
  8. Bear Republic Racer X IPA
  9. Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
  10. Ithaca Flower Power IPA

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Image via TheGranarySA.com

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Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA (Review)

Maine Beer Company's Lunch IPA

“Do what’s right.”

That’s Maine Beer Company‘s motto. It is printed on all of its bottles. And the company is following its own advice, doing what’s right for the New England craft beer scene by brewing some very special beers, including its Lunch India Pale Ale.

Maine Beer Company says Lunch is “our ‘east coast’ version of a West Coast-style IPA.” And I can say without any doubt that Lunch is one of the best east coast IPAs I’ve ever had, and it can hold its own with some of the best West Coast IPAs, too.

Whenever I drink any of Maine Beer’s ales, I’m struck by just how crisp and clean they are. They’re also always extremely fresh, but that probably has to do with the fact that the company’s beers are also always in high demand in and around Boston, so they never sit on store shelves for very long.

Lunch IPA is probably Maine Beer’s most sought-after ale. It’s extremely difficult to find, and many of the liquor stores I frequent never even put it on their shelves; the shops keep Lunch behind the counter or in their storerooms for local beer nerds like myself who will appreciate it.

I slowly poured my Lunch IPA into a medium-size Maine Beer Company goblet, and it gradually formed a nice, frothy head, which didn’t dissipate much before I finished the beer. The color is orange/beige. It’s extremely flavorful, and you immediately taste citrus, mild pine and, of course, lots of fresh hops. Lunch is brewed with Warrior, Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops.

Lunch IPA comes in a 1 pint, 9 FL. OZ. bottle. It has a 7.0% ABV. I paid $8 for my bottle. Maine Beer Company brews are currently available in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York City, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

Put quite simply, I love Lunch IPA. Lunch is so good that I forgive Maine Beer Company for ditching its beautiful paper labels for cheap-looking plastic ones—though I’m still not happy about it; Maine Beer’s old labels were awesome and unique.  Maine Beer Company’s Lunch IPA gets a 9 out of 10 on the Urban Beer Nerd scale. (It has 95/100 score on BeerAdvocate.com based on 266 user ratings.)

Check out the video below for more information about Maine Beer Company.

UBN

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