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The Leapbeer Tasting – A Trip to India Pale Ale

So last night I had a couple of good friends (one superfriend harkening back to our old hockey pool) and I decided to give them a journey through what I’d found out about IPA’s

Before I get to the beers I did a bit of research into “what makes an India Pale Ale or IPA? And Why India?”

So the next bit is a bit of site regurgitation, so I apologize for that. According to wikipedia the first written reference of “India Pale Ale” dates back to 1835 which referred to a style of beer previously called “pale ale as prepared for India”, “pale India ale” or “pale export India ale”. About.com said that the brewing style was originally developed by the British in the 1700s to prevent spoilage when shipping their beer to troops stationed in India. The generous amout of hops in the brew protected it from the heat and motion of the sailing ships of the day.

The hops bring the bitter, but it is the variants of hops that can bring the citrus twang that comes through in some of the beers.

The beers I chose for Dallas and Jeff were Wells IPA, Hoperation TripelCross by Phillips, Devils Elbow IPA by Howe Sound Brewery, Imperial IPA by GIB and Fat Tug by Driftwood.

Jeff is a hops veteran, but this was Dallas’ first trip down to hoppy town. I probably could’ve started with an even milder IPA, something like an Alexander Keiths, but I felt that a British beer would make more sense. All of us enjoyed a glass and shared our comments (when the hockey game wasn’t on of course) Everyone shared the sentiment that this is a refreshing beer. It has a mild hoppyness to it, but it is still an easily drank beer.

Next I decided to go with the Hoperation TripelCross by Phillips. One sip and you snap to attention. No wonder the Brits sent this to their troops. This beer definitely gave Dallas a moment to pause. If I recall, his first response was “Wow that’s bitter”

We moved onto Devil’s Elbow IPA by Howe Sound Brewery. At this point our bitter beer beginner was showing signs of tapping out. Little did he know what was to come. This officially is beer #68 on the leapbeer journey, but I’m going to post a review of it later.

I realize this next move went contrary to the trend, but I decided that we would go to the Imperial IPA by GIB after that. As you may remember from my review this bad boy weighs in at 100 IBU’s or bitterness units. The highest of our tasting plan. The Dally man could only take a mouthful or two of this delicious brew.

Lastly we moved on to my current beer crush, Fat Tug by Driftwood. I insisted that the Dallas man give this a pull. My love for this beer is well documented at this point. Jeff is an honorary tugnut too. While we were consuming this it made me realize something new. Most beers taste like beer. I know this is an over simplification, but they all have a basic beer taste. Of course there are variants, probably more than any one person can count. Some are sweet or nutty, others are bitter, even others are unfiltered. And it goes on and on. Regardless of all that, they still taste like beer. What amazes me about fat tug is how much more than a beer this brew is. It is truly remarkable. In my opinion it is head and shoulders above the rest of these beers. It is a flavor journey waiting to happen. Even our bitter newb had to appreciate it.

If you haven’t had a fat tug yet, please do so at your soonest convenience. It may seem like I am being paid by Driftwood to promote their brews, but I’m not. This is just a wonderful discovery of mine while on my leapbeer journey.

Yes I realize I go on and on about one beer. I’m seriously considering putting a moratorium on tug comments in future posts. And yes I realize that there are many many many more IPA’s out there that we could have tried. My question to my readers is whats your favorite IPA? leave a comment or tweet me @heavycf

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I absolutely enjoyed researching and writing it. Life is too short to drink bad beer.

PS I recently hired da def as my senior VP of offsite leapbeer acquisitions out of Victoria, so hopefully I’ll be getting more of the limited run beers as they become available.

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