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Sunday, July 31, 2011

"IPA" Does Not Always Mean India Pale Ale

I have been jonesing for an IPA. All week, and all weekend, I have been craving hops.

Today, I finally had the cash and time to hit the liquor store. In a frantic attempt to save both time and money, I scanned the prices and labels, paying more attention to the price (apparently) than to the style or name on the bottle.

This is how I came home with an Imperial Pale Ale instead of an India Pale Ale, which is what I really, really, really wanted.

(I also, intentionally, picked up a black IPA, as I thought I had my traditional IPA covered. More on that beer later this week)

My selection this week is nonetheless a worthy beer to quench your summer thirst. And it is locally brewed.

Ipswich 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale
Ipswich Ale Brewery, brewed by Mercury Brewing Company, Ipswich, MA
8 % ABV
22 ounce bottle

I popped this bottle open and poured it into a tall pilsner glass.

This beer poured a nice brackish brown cider color, hazy and brown, with a nice tight, off-white head.

Smell was strong- malt, alcohol, and hops. All three aromas were strong, but not quite pungent, and all were in balance and nicely followed each other out of the glass in perfect order.

I took a sip. This beer is full bodied, thick and alcoholy on the tongue, with low carbonation.

Taste is very strong malty sweet up front, followed by a very strong flowery hop bitter finish. It is extremely well balanced between the strong, alcoholy malt and flowery, hop bitterness. It reminded me very much of  a beer they used to brew at the Boston Beer Works called the Eisbock. ( The "Eisbock" was this beer, only turned up to 11- the alcohol vapors coming off an Eisbock were so strong that you had to keep the glass moving on the table or the fumes would peel the paint on the ceiling. And the taste was so strong it made you gag, but in a very good way)

All in all I enjoyed this beer. I'd give it a modest 3.5-4 range on a 1-5 scale.


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