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Your Beermonger: Celebrating IPA Day

by ARLnow.com August 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm 2,289 19 Comments

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

By the time you read this, the second annual IPA Day will have already come and gone. Started last year, the idea of IPA Day is that every August 2nd, craft beer lovers everywhere get together and celebrate the humble hop flower and all the joy it brings us through its use in the venerable India Pale Ale style. Since this column runs the day after IPA Day and because it’s a relatively new event, I’m going to go ahead and say take the weekend to enjoy your favorite hophead treats. If you need a few suggestions, I’ve got some right here:

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale: Besides being one of the most popular craft beers around, Two Hearted is a finely balanced IPA that even appeals to those who think they don’t like ‘really hoppy’ beers. Bell’s fruity yeast strain plays exceptionally well with highly-hopped Ales, and helps give Two Hearted a combination of hop character and balance that isn’t seen as often as I’d like.

Dogfish Head 60, 90, 120 Minute: Pick one, pick them all—just make sure someone’s around to take care of you, ‘cause you’re going to need some help if you’re throwing back some of these bruisers. I’ve always been a 90 Minute fan myself, but I do occasionally enjoy a well-aged 120 (at 15-20% ABV, it takes a few years for the sugars in 120 to mellow out). All three have distinct characteristics and their own fan bases: 60 in some ways is the most assertive of the bunch, with 90 having a heavy malt element and 120 being so sweet in its youth due to its high alcohol level. These are the beers that put Dogfish Head on the map nationally, and they hold up all these years later.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon: Straight out of Baltimore, Loose Cannon is one of the most versatile beers on the market. It also happens to be a heavily-hopped take on IPA. There’s an element of crispness to Loose Cannon that at once accentuates and gives focus to the hops used, and the careful consideration taken in making it pays off with a hoppy Ale that can sit with you at nearly any dinner table.

Uinta Hop Notch: Hop Notch has had a big year in our area. Where only a few months ago I’d see but a case or two at a time, now I’m regularly displaying case-stacks at Arrowine and selling through them quickly. Hop Notch plays on the citrusier, grapefruity aspects of the hop which serves to make it feel less strong than its 7.5% would have you think. Compared to, say, Two Hearted Ale, Hop Notch has less of a malty streak, which dials down the earthiness and punches up the ‘juicy’ notes. This is a very cool beer that many are just discovering.

Troeg’s Perpetual: The only non-IPA on this list is, in fact, an IPA. In this case however, IPA stands for “Imperial Pale Ale”. Now based out of Hershey, PA, Troeg’s put out this beer in 2011 intending for it to be a once-per-year specialty. It ended up being so popular that they decided to bring it back for 2012 as a year-round addition to their great lineup. At 7.5% and 85 IBU, the numbers suggest Perpetual is as big as or bigger than many traditional IPAs. But it’s all in how the beer is made: Perpetual really does sit in-between the bigger, earthier American Pale Ales and the uber-hoppy India Pales. The hops in Perpetual are more than enough to satisfy anyone looking for them, while the feel of the beer lends itself to easy enjoyment.

Regardless of which IPA you end up with, make sure you take the time to raise a glass with your friends this weekend and think of the humble flower of the hop vine, which has given us so much enjoyment over the years. Until next time.

Cheers!

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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  • drax

    Every day is IPA Day.

    • TheBeermonger

      Agreed. I like being given an excuse to go hop-crazy, though.

  • i like beer

  • mrh5028

    More like IP-YAY! amirght?

  • SteamboatWillie

    I know that the Beermonger column caught some flak earlier, but these writeups are always informative and well done. And I second his recommendation for the Tröegs Perpetual IPA.

    I’m anxious to try Founder’s All Day IPA once it finally arrives in the area next year.

    • TheBeermonger

      I’ve had All-Day twice now, and it’s pretty good. I think I like the Terrapin Easy Rider a bit better though, for my low-ABV hoppy beer fix.

  • drax

    My new pro-gay joint, Chik-Fil-Gay, will serve IPGay.

    • TheBeermonger

      Well, there goes my future homebrew label. It’s yours now, drax: just try to treat it right.

  • ballsteve

    I get to head up to Bell’s next Thursday. I can’t wait to find my way into some Two Hearted…..and Oberon….and Best Brown…..

    • TheBeermonger

      There’s a ton of great beer they make that don’t leave Michigan. Try everything you can.

    • David

      Was there in April, check out DarkmHorse and Arcadia if you can, they are not far. Bells Eccentric Cafe is great!

  • zimmy

    I have heard variously that Dogfish 120 either isn’t available at all in Virginia, or isn’t available for takeout sales due to the alcohol content. Are either of these true? I’ve never been able to find it, even at places like Rustico and Fireworks.

    • bb

      It’s available.

      Retail (bottle) to go: I seem to recall Rick’s Wine & Gourmet just got aother case or so the other week. Total Wine & More usually has some, though it’s hit or miss with the Annandale location. I seem to have better luck with the Mclean location.

      Draft wise, Dogfish Head Alehouse (Falls Church) had it on tap just a week or two ago. I’ve seen it on draft at Pizza Paradiso (Georgetown) and ChurchKey.

      • poiuytr

        Arrowine got a number of cases in a few weeks ago and may still have a few bottles left. I have also seen in on bottle menus at both Fireworks and Rusitco in the past. I think it isn’t as available due to the fact that many people prefer it aged combined with the high price.

        • TheBeermonger

          Here at Arrowine I’m looking at, let me count…3 cases plus some extra bottles right this moment. They had issues in 2010 with the batches going bad and it didn’t hit the market again until later last year, but they seem to be getting back on schedule.
          When everything’s going as it should, you should see a new batch of 120 about every 3 months, and retailers should be able to get it without much trouble.

  • CW

    Southern Tier Unearthly.

    • TheBeermonger

      Great beer. Like the Oaked version as well. Has gotten a bit lost in the mix of new arrivals, but is a great go-to hop fix.

  • David

    Love the Perptual and Loose Cannon.

  • Curious George

    For those of us who can’t get to Arrowine the Virgina Square Giant has Dogfish 60 minute IPA today.

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