Today Is IPA Day!

Today, August 2nd, is a day to celebrate IPAs.  So go out, drink an IPA and enjoy yourself!

Here are some of my favorite IPAs and Double IPAs.

Kane Head High:  From the New Jersey brewery, and one I’ve reviewed before, Kane never fails with this beer.  It is always drinkable, and any time I see it on tap, I order it.  The beer is smooth and full of citus goodness.  The hops don’t overwhelm and lead to an almost sweetness.  Probably my favorite beer, right now.

Carton Brewing 077XX:  A Double IPA (in my eyes), and just as good as the Kane beer.  Smooth and boozy, this is a beer to get a buzz on.  The other great New Jersey beer.  The same hoppy deliciousness as the Kane, and addicting as well.  I’m dying to get back to Carton and grab a growler of this.  It’s been too long.

Troegs Perpetual IPA:  Recently had a six pack of this, and when it’s cold and fresh, it is just plain good.  This only style of beer this quality brewery has been missing had been a really solid IPA.  Perpetual goes above and beyond that.  A great example of what an IPA should taste like, especially once you get your taste buds adjusted to the IPA flavor–if you’re an IPA newbie.

Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale:  Unavailable in New Jersey, but worth hunting down (PA is your best bet).  Fresh and good, it’s like biting into an orange.  The hops are mild, but the flavor is sharp and decadent.  One of the best IPAs out there.  Find this.

There are many other quality IPAs and DIPAs out there that I haven’t coved.  Pliny the Elder by Russian River is impossible to track down, but well worth it when you find it.  Pliny the Younger even more so.  I’m a huge fan of Terrapin beers and their So Fresh & So Green, Green is fantastic.  That was one of my gateway IPAs.

But, today is August 2nd, so you need to drink an IPA.  Tell me which ones in the comments below.

Avery Hog Heaven

I heard about this beer on an episode of Drinking Made Easy, and was immediately intrigued.  You see, I love Avery’s IPAs, but I’ve never been a fan of the Barleywine style of beer.  Not really sure why, just a bad experience somewhere in my past I guess.

But upon watching the episode, the brewmaster at Avery said that this was their first beer–brewed before craft beer styles became famous.  They didn’t have a name for this beer, so they did some research of strong beers and decided Barleywine would be a popular name.

Nowadays, they’d probably call it a Double IPA.

Upon hearing that, I was sold.  They sold me on the hops and the promise of a caramel finish.  And the first sniff delivered on the hop promise.  It was exactly what I expected, hoppy in odor.  A darker hue, more amber than orange, though, I was still a bit hesitant.

Time for a sip.  The hops came first, the sweet piney kind of the hops.  They burn the tongue with bitterness, but it’s quickly followed up with a caramel finish.  Nice and sweet.  This is a smooth beer.  Though it rings in at 9 percent, it’s easy drinking.

That’s not cool.

(Actually it’s real cool.)

But yeah, good beer.  Sorry a title made me so tentative to have it.

New England Ghandi Bot Double IPA

I’m celebrating tonight.  Well, sort of.  Yesterday I had two wisdom teeth pulled.  I wasn’t knocked out, I was numbed and it wasn’t pleasant (that said, it wasn’t the worst thing in the history of mankind either.)  And since I already feel better (just a bit of jaw pain), I’m celebrating with a beer.

The beer I chose was another one from the beer trade.  New England Brewing Company’s Ghandi Bot.  It’s a double IPA.  And there’s a picture of a ROBOT GHANDI on the can.  Let’s face it, with that kind of can, there’s no way I’m giving this beer a bad review.  It could taste like feet and raw eggs, but there’s still a ROBOT GHANDI on the can.

But, thankfully, the beer doesn’t taste like that.  Not does it smell like that.

To me, all hops have either a pine or citrus flavor.  This one has a hop flavor I rarely taste, and that’s of a pure orange.  A bitter orange, and nothing else.  Perhaps my taste buds are off, but this is the flavor I’m getting.  The beer it very smooth, as well.  The bitter is there, but it’s not sweet and syrupy like a lot of IPAs are.

This is a solid double IPA, one that you could drink several of and not blink… until you tried to stand up.

It’s a peaceful beer (on the outside), but very dangerous the more you drink it.

Much like a robot Ghandi would be, I’d think.

The Alchemist Heady-Topper

Heady-Topper is a beer out of Vermont.  It’s hard to come by here in New Jersey, so I had to acquire it in a beer trade.  Yes, a beer trade.  More on that later.

But now, I try the beer.  As you can see on the can it says “Drink from the Can.”  They don’t want you pouring this into a glass for some reason.  But I’m never one to completely follow the rules when it comes to beer (well, whatever, just go with it).  So I decided to try an experiment.

Half and half.

First, sip from the can.  There’s not much of an odor when you try it from the can (okay, stop giggling).  You catch some hops, but that’s about it.  I expected to be overwhelmed with syrupy bitterness. Not so.  The first sip was incredibly smooth.  And easy to drink.  Almost like biting into a carrot.  There’s that first flush of hops sweetness with immediately shifted to a dry clean flavor.  Surprising for a Double IPA.  The more out of the can I drank, the better it became.  The hops floated to the surface and left a nice, nice bitterness in my mouth.

Next, poured into a glass.  As you can see from the photo, this beer is really light colored.  Almost orangey (says the color-blind man).  I can see some of the hop resin as I look, and the smell is just as muted.  The hops, though, on the first sip, are stronger.  I can see why they push this to be drank from the can.  They want to brew a smooth beer, but it’s much more bitter-er (LOLerskates) from a glass.  I love it, and I can sense more of the booziness when I drink it this way.

Either way, I want to chug this and at the same time I want to savor it.  I may never have it again.

This beer really stands up to the description.

Wow.