Monthly Archives: August 2011

Drinking It All: #’s 43 & 44 Southern IPAs

Drinking It All is a document of my attempt to try every beer in circulation. It’s a Herculean and tragic attempt at best. But it’s the means, not the end that counts here.

Lots of stuff to catch up on. I’ve made some beers. I’ve tried some beers. I’ve joined a brewclub, so I’ve met some folks who also make some beers. I’ve also decided to start whittling away at the beers I’ve gotten and saved for this particular blog. When I went to the beer-fridge just now, I noticed that I’ve got two IPAs made by southern breweries: Abita’s Jockamo IPA and Good People’s IPA. So I figured I’d just knock both of them out at once in one thematically coherent post. I’ll start with the Good People (based in Birmingham, AL) IPA, which as you can see below comes in a can. Canned IPA. Why the shit not?

southern IPAs

This IPA is about as good an example of the style (at least my preference within the style) as I can think of. It’s super bitter, but the flavor of the hops comes through pretty well. And even coming out of a can, you get a smell of the hops way easy. (I’m trying it right out of the can and in a little 4 oz taster glass.) There’s not too much malt character at all–this beer seems like, as they say at Dogfish Head, a hop-delivery vehicle. And it’s good at it. Which is to say that this beer’d be like the UPS overnight of hop delivery versus Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale being the USPS Priority. Analogies!

Can’t really say enough good things about Good People Brewing Co. Being so close to Birmingham, I’ve tried a good bit of their beers, and I’ve not only never been disappointed, but I’ve always been super excited about the beers. They truly know their shit. Pick it up if you can.

My other southern IPA is Abita’s Jockamo IPA. I’ve had this beer plenty of times before now, so I’m somewhat familiar with what I’m getting into.

It’s not really fair to compare these two beers, or maybe it is, but I’m going to try not to even though I’m basically trying them at the same time. The Jockamo IPA (brewed by Abita Brewing Co. in Abita Springs, LA) is a mildish IPA in terms of the hop character. It’s certainly got hop bitterness and the hop flavor stands out from the malt base, but the smell (if I said aroma I’d basically have to drink the beer with my pinky aimed at the sky) seems more of the malt than the hops. All that said, this is a hoppy beer. And a hoppy IPA. And it tastes good. But it’s just not quite as dry as I like an IPA to be–it’s a little sweeter than what I want an IPA to be. It’s a full-bodied IPA, and if that’s the kind of IPA you like, then this is your kind of IPA.

So two good and different IPAs from the good old southern states. Louisiana is one of my most favorite places in the States for lots of reasons, Abita beers being just one (Walker Percy and Cooter Brown’s being two others). My wife’s from Birmingham, so it’s automatically an awesome place, but they also have a kick ass beer fest each year, and aside from Memphis, Atlanta, and New Orleans, they consistently get the best bands (have seen Man Man twice and the National once in B’ham). We here in the south might be last in lots of the categories we want to be first in, but we’re damn sure not last in the making good beer category.

Thumbs up or thumbs down? One thumb up for Good People and one thumb up for Abita.