Sunday, April 14, 2013

Unhappy with an Unhoppy I.P.A.

India Pale Ale is what I drink when I'm not drinking Genesee Cream Ale, my go to beer. So, when I was at our recently opened Trader Joe's with the missus yesterday, knowing that I was out of beer at home and had no time for a Wegmans run, I picked up two bottles of Boatswain Double IPA (Twin Screw Steamer), made by the Rhinelander Brewing Company in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, which looks like a nice place, seated in Oneida County, Wisconsin, named after the Oneida Indian Nation" of New York, not to be confused with the Oneida Community. [Why, I must ask, among our local Nineteenth Century heresies, did it have to be Millerism and Mormonism, not these happy practitioners of group marriage and coitus reservatus, to stand the test of time?] I digress. Back to beer. This brew was not undrinkable, like Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale, but like the Canadian product, "[c]alling this an IPA is an insult to the style."

So, today we were off to Tops Friendly Markets, at which we rarely shop, but which is headquarted in my hometown, Buffalo, New York, unlike Weggies, which is local. [My daughter has a Wegman as a classmate.] Speaking of local, I decided to go local stocking up on a month's worth of beer after delicate negotiations with the wife. My selections were Flower Power India Pale Ale from Ithaca Beer Company, the Southern Tier Brewing Company's IPA (India Pale Ale) (not to be confused with its 2XIPA), and Snapperhead IPA from Butternuts Beer & Ale.

I drank them in that order and rank them in that order, from best to third best, and BeerAdvocate's raters agree with me. Flower Power India Pale Ale was ranked "world-class" with a score of 95 from 2,084 ratings. I especially enjoyed its unique floweriness. The Lakewood, New York boys' IPA (India Pale Ale) ranked "good" but paled in comparison with their 2XIPA, which was rated "exceptional" and rightly so. Snapperhead IPA from Butternuts Beer & Ale comes in a great can, but it was the least hoppy of the bunch. I know noting about brewing, but wonder of the "all malt" on the can has anything to do with this. .

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Interesting review.

BTW - I'm going to be in Syracuse Thurs into Friday. Any tips? If you are nearby, I can finally buy you that long-pronised pint!

April 14, 2013 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Dauvit Balfour said...

Regarding the "all malt": it shouldn't have anything to do with the lack of hoppiness. All beer contains malted barley. Some beer contains other grains for various reasons - oats for mouth feel, wheat for texture and flavor, or (if you're a macro brewery) corn and rice for cheap filler. I would guess that the "all malt" just means there are no grains other than malted barley.

The hops are a different matter altogether, and all beer has them in varying degree. My guess is that you just got an IPA with a disappointing amount (or even type) of hops.

Side note: English style IPAs tend to taste less hoppy (and more like English ale) than American IPAs, but they aren't nearly as common. Samuel Smith's and St. Peter's are the only ones I know of that are widely available.

They aren't local to you, but if you ever get a chance to try an IPA from Founders (MI) or Three Floyds (IN) do so. Both breweries excel in all things hoppy.

April 15, 2013 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

Pints, sorry for the belated reply. Syracuse is a city I know very little about. Last time I was there was for a Hot Tuna show in the 80s. Hope you had a good time.

Dauvit, thanks for the explanations and recommendations.

April 21, 2013 at 6:53 PM  

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