HARPOON India Pale Ale (Boston, MA – Windsor, Vermont)

Harpoon IPA

Image by spablab via Flickr

LOVE BEER. LOVE LIFE. HARPOON.

HARPOON IPA: IPAs were originally brewed during the height of the British Empire for the troops stationed in India. The high gravity and increased hops acted as natural preservatives. In the tradition of IPAs, our highly-hooped, copper-colored ale features a floral nose, medium body and an aggressive, clean hop finish Cheers!

STYLE: India Pale Ale.   ABV: 5.9%   BREWED SINCE: 1993   IBU: 40

H A R P O O N Brewery

In 1986 Harpoon co-founders Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary began brewing Harpoon in Boston to share with others the joy of making and drinking great beer. In 2000, we added a second brewery in Windsor, VT to keep up the demand. We are passionate about our company and our beer, and we work each day to create great beer drinking experiences. Please join us by  becoming a Friend of Harpoon. We welcome all beer lovers to visit us at our breweries in Boston, MA or Windsor, VT. We hope you enjoy our beer as much as we do!

HARPOON LOVER’S REVIEW: their IPA. Brewed for over 15 years, it’s one of the longest-running versions of the American IPA style on the market today.

Harpoon are a little stingy with ingredient details, but they do mention that Cascade hops are used “generously” and that the backbone is built from 2-row pale malt along with two other varieties. Here’s how Harpoon describe the resulting brew:

The high hopping of Harpoon IPA is not only noticeable in the nose but especially in the finish. The lingering bitter finish of this beer is not harsh or astringent, but crisp and pronounced. This is created, in part, by dry hopping. This beer is floral, medium body with an aggressive, clean hop finish.

With so many years passing between this beer’s original launch and the craft beer climate of today, I’m curious to see how it stacks up.

Appearance: An orange-amber body with two fingers of sudsy, off-white head. Good lacing.

Aroma: Citrusy Cascade hops over sweet pale malt. Good stuff, but perhaps more in line with a straight-up Pale Ale, rather than an IPA.

Taste: Up front, a mild wave of citrusy Cascades sets the tone. Underneath, the malt backbone is more than able to meet the hop challenge, making for a very balanced proposition. Once again, this smacks more of a great Pale Ale rather than a full-fledged IPA. The aftertaste is mildly bitter and a little grainy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Dries in the finish.

Drinkability: Certainly above average for the IPA style, this makes for a wonderfully sessionable beer.

Verdict: Certainly not the most hopped IPA out there, I really would have pegged this one as an Pale Ale if I had to guess. I guess over the years the craft beer world has just moved on from this definition of an IPA. But, putting style aside, this is still a tasty and highly sessionable beer—just don’t go in expecting an excess of hops.

 

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