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Posts Tagged ‘Ale drinker’

Ah! A cold Pabst can to finish as le Grand Boucle draws to a close in Paris. It has been a long three weeks of the world’s longest and toughest bicycle race. Pabst was my mainstay with a few Harpoon and Smuttynose IPAs thrown in.

Today I discovered an exceptional brew, Lobster Ale by Belfast Maine Brewery. This red ale was served up on tap at the local Lobster Trap Restaurant on West Side Road in North Conway. This ale had deep taste with a gentle hop zing, smooth on the way down, easy aftertaste. A classy surprise.
When I read the fine print on the brewery’s website it turns out that it is brewed now by Shipyard in Portland which was at one time partly owned by Miller. The original owners bought back from Miller that share and now continue as an independent. That is a twist I wasn’t expecting.
The Lobster Ale is still first rate and it has a cousin, McGovern Oatmeal Stout, which may be worth investigating.
HaveAnother

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This brings me to the second half of the title, Harpoon. I have mentioned Harpoon IPA in other posts, “the standard setter for IPA’s” I said. What we have in Harpoon’s IPA is a brew for the long haul. We don’t buy it in four-packs; we purchase 12 bottle boxes which disappear from the fridge at an alarming rate. This is a substantially different drink than the Lion. It is steady, refreshing, and holds its attraction over time, day after day.

LabelHarpoon wasn’t always that way. When I first tasted the original Harpoon Ale I was sadly disappointed. Maybe it was the earliest days of Sam Adams and Geary’s Ale, before the craft brewing renewal caught fire. I found the brew unimaginative. after a few attempts to come to grips with Harpoon I gave up and stayed away for some time.

Eventually though with a revamped label and an IPA to offer I gave the brewery another chance. I have never looked back. They found the key to an ultra-fine brew. As Alex says in his comment to my Leviathan post where I say that Harpoon IPA is the standard setter,  “Could not agree more. It may even be the standard setter for beer in general.”

ipa_b_g_200x367(1)The real dividing line of beer is the brew that becomes a standard drink vs. the brew that is a novelty, a “seasonal”, an occasional, a “yeah, that wasn’t bad!” Harpoon IPA is the standard, much like Sam Adams is a standard. Lion Imperial is an occasional.

I popped a twelve pack of Harpoon IPA into the fridge recently and have reached in nightly with delight and poured a glass full. Ah, after a day of work, the hops bring out the crisp flavor with a fullness, a drinkability, a refreshing zing. Ah!

HaveAnotherEC_Stamp

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I cycle regularly in the morning along the local country roads nearby. One can keep a pretty good inventory of what beer the young bucks are drinking by the litter along the roadway. There are particular areas that bear the brunt of this abuse of the landscape. Generally Budweiser out-litters the others 8 to 1. Coors is a close second along with a scattering of Miller. More often than one might think Sam Adams lies amidst the others.

60-minute-ipaA few days ago, as I rolled along near one of the typical trash sections, I started as I spied a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Wow! Who was this person who first drank the IPA out of the bottle, on the road, and then winged it out the window. It doesn’t fit. Why would this person bother ? Why not just a bottle of Bud? What attracted this character  to a classy ale which should be drunk with appreciation, observing the complex mix of tastes, the bitter hoppiness, the strength of the malt, the color in the glass.

And why was there only one Dogfish Head amongst the brown bottles lying along the road in the vicinity? I pondered as I rode along. Maybe a disenchanted young drinker surprised by the tartness, taking a long pull from the bottle, as his buddies slugged down Bud Lite, and choking a bit with the shock? Maybe a knowledgeable ale drinker who knew the taste and enjoyed each pull from the bottle? Then why fling it out on the side of the road?

I then thought of the statistical lay of the road litter. The fact that Sam Adams had found a place along with the mainstream beers on the road simply echoed the proportional distribution as expected. If so then maybe… maybe the 60 Minute bottle was the signal that Dogfish Head had arrived.

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