Harpoon IPA

Harpoon’s IPA

Label flows with the standard flowery words: citrus, crisp, floral. But there is a tiger on the label, and i like that even though by now we know that IPA was never indigenous to India but rather brewed to keep English soldiers happy while serving in the hellish climate of the Subcontinent. But hey, i like tigers.

This one’s from New england, a true indy brewer from Vermont and Massachussetts, not sure which location is their original home. One thing on the label stands out: “unique malt profile” is a phrase one does but rarely hear in an IPA; they’re usually so busy hopping them up to think about malts which will be gastronomically wiped out in the end. The rest of the particulars: 5.9% alk and a stable 42 IBU’s.

The color is normal, a golden and pale ale color, but the nasal appreciation deserves a note. Not quite the pines, but certainly a local atmosphere of orange blossom. And that’s where the taste picks up, a more floral than fruity hop profile, and there is citrus but it’s not very insistent.

No puckering pout here, lacks the lemon and limey characteristics of some IPA’s, and doesn’t branch out so much into plum or apricot or other stone fruits. It’s more about the blossom than the flesh. A hint of the creamy notes which set the great eastern IPA’s on their thrones, but not fully realized here. This would be a true creamsicle beer if it had the cream part in fuller force.

The beer body is noticeable, but not to the extent that the blurb on the label suggests. A hint of sour from the mash, the sort of flavor which takes flight in a stout, but here it’s much lighter, obviously by seeing the color of the beer. The real danger of this beer is not in its strength but the friendly taste from all components pitching in. I found a 12-er of this at a good price and they were just so easy to enjoy that i lost track and the next day i really felt as though i had been harpooned.

But i saved one to eat later in a more reflective frame of mind, ergo this review, a couple weeks later, it’s been sitting lonely in the fridge since its 11 bretheren had their way with my head. To sum, a very easy beer to drink, good flavor and at 42 IBU’s it’s not going to make your gf whine. The orangey flavor from the hops is more flower than rind, and that lets some of the malt sweetness through.

I like it. Not a serious IPA where you have to keep track of all the hop notes and contemplate the brewmaster’s expressionist milieu in light of his contemporary peers. Just a nice bright beer to drink. It rates a 8.2 if i ever met one. At the end of the glass, aha, there it is: the pine trace of hops… but it only comes through in the burps.

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