Believe it or not, India pale ales (IPAs) are still a relatively new beer style. Yeah, technically they’ve been around since the 19th century, but the modern incarnation of America’s favorite craft beer style is only about 30 years old. In the old days, IPAs were a necessity, not a style. To get the beloved English pale ale to British soldiers who were stationed in all corners of the world, you needed to make the beer sturdy enough to make the long ocean voyage to wherever. With no refrigeration, you had to rely upon the things you could control. Alcohol and hops are two great preservatives in beer. Increase these factors and you can improve the beer’s short life. That’s where the IPA came from. Today, IPAs are far more than the boozy/hoppy ales of the past—they’re vastly complex beers that owe their unique tastes to new hop strains that impart citrus, pine, floral and spicy flavors to the beers. When you combine this with a brewer’s style-bending imagination, new styles of beer are conceived and the world becomes a much happier place. This month’s beers are innovative, local interpretations on the classic IPA that definitely deserve your attention.
Red Rye IPA
Brewery/Brand: Moab Brewing Co.
Serving Style: On Tap
This brand-new offering from our friends in Moab pours a reddish brown hue with a thick, tan, lacy head. The nose has a nice fruity punch with pine, grapefruit and rye malt. The flavor starts with big, bright hops composed mostly of citrus peel and pine needles. Caramel malt and rye spiciness come next, providing a very nice and balanced bed for the hops to lie upon. The end has a dry bitterness with a hint of toffee, finishing clean and dry.
Overview: This flavorful ale looks to be replacing Moab’s Scorpion Pale Ale in many places, which is fine with me. This ale has many more layers than Scorpion, and will likely find a wider audience. I hope it makes it into cans!
Brighton Revolver Session White IPA
Brewery/Brand: Uinta Brewing Co.
Serving Style: On Tap
This IPA pours a very clear, white/gold color with a head that’s driven by some active carbonation. The nose is of lemongrass, oranges and floral notes. The taste starts with wheat malt and a lemony twang, light Belgian yeast and a fair amount of citrusy hops. Toasty cereal comes next with an herbal hoppiness. The end is slightly sweet and doughy, finishing crisp and dry.
Overview: This one is part of Uinta’s quarterly, revolving (Revolver) series made for Brighton Ski Resort. It’s not the best representation of the style—I would have liked to have this unfiltered to bring out more of the yeast’s character—but it is damn drinkable, light and crisp.
20th Anniversary Imperial Red Ale
Brewery/Brand: RedRock Brewing Co.
Serving Style: 500ml Bottle
This first-time, limited batch beer pours with big, round, ruby tones and has very nice clarity for such a dark ale. The head is big and sturdy with a ruddy two fingers of foam cap. The nose pops with toasted caramel and big notes of pine. The taste starts with toasted bread, tobacco and a hint of fudge. Big pine resin comes next with bitter chocolate and a hint of orange in the end. The finish is dry and quite bitter.
Overview: This is a full-flavored beer that crosses into barley wine territory. Its 9.5-percent ABV is well hidden, and will put the hammer on you if you’re not paying attention. It’s a brilliant-tasting take on an “Irish-ish” style.
Need more? Check out more Utah beer-related stuff at utahbeer.blogspot.com.