Tag Archives: IPA

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.

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Drinking It All: #37 Stone IPA

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.

somehow this gargoyle doesn't imply gothness

During our last trip to Atlanta a couple of weekends ago, Steve took us to Hop City where they sell homebrew stuff and tons of fancy beers and wines. I managed to spend about 45 minutes looking at beer before even starting to fill a buggy, and I came home with about 7 or so single beers (some in large bottles). Today, I’ve finally opened one of them up, and it’s one I’ve heard much about but never tried: Stone IPA.

Stone brewery is located in San Diego, and they’re pretty well-known in craft beer circles. You can read a little about them in Charlie Papazian’s Microbrewed Adventures book. I’m pretty sure I remember the owner of the brewery being interviewed in Beer Wars (which if you haven’t seen, you should, etc.). Other than that, I’m not much of a scholar on the brewery, but I figured I knew enough to buy a beer of theirs. And so.

This beer’s (like I said) an IPA, and the back of the bottle is, to paraphrase, not exactly modest about how they feel about the beer. They are proud, and the word ‘hop’ or some variation of it appears in one paragraph 7 times. Modesty isn’t one of their ‘strong suits’ and neither is subtlety either, I guess. So the beer should be hoppy.

And the beer is hoppy. As a 6.9% ABV IPA, it’s at home near the lower end of the strength totem pole, but the hop flavor could easily fit a beer with a higher ABV. The hop character of the beer isn’t so overwhelming though. It’s not at all the hoppiest thing I’ve had, but it’s getting up there. The taste is super hoppy and bitter, and the smell is hoppy (but to be honest, my nose is a little stopped up so I’m having a hard time telling just exactly what it smells like). The color is pretty light as far as IPAs go–since the ABV is relatively low for the style, the paler-than-many-IPAs color makes sense.

Tangentially-related side note: I’m afraid I’m starting to wear myself out on IPAs. It’s getting hard to be able to tell the difference between the many super-hoppy beers that I like so much. Neither my nose nor tongue is trained enough to recognize different hop varieties, and since that’s the case, I’m starting to wonder how I’ll be able to rank the different IPAs I try. (Not that the goal here is to rank them, but it’s at least kind of the goal, right? If I can’t tell the difference, then I should just stick to one and forget the rest. But then what if I pass one up that’s just hoppy enough to make steam shoot out my ears–see? How else do I differentiate the IPAs other than levels of hoppiness? There are ways, I’m sure, but I don’t know them.) And so I’m also starting to wonder if I should stop drinking IPAs so indiscriminately and adopt a more panoramic view of the beer aisle. Then when I periodically try an IPA, maybe I’ll be able to more easily tell what its prominent qualities are. And also, just imagine a panoramic view of the beer aisle. Yes.

This beer I like. Even though I might not be able to articulate very well why I like it (which, I know, then what’s the point of writing about it and expecting people to read it and actually get some kind of mental/gustatory sense of the beer if I can’t explain why I like it in fewer than 600+ words at this point?), I’m betting that if you’re reading this, you’ll be likely to take a chance on it. Also, look at the bottle. Fuckin’ gargoyle on it.

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Up. But don’t ask me why.

Brewed Slowly: #11 Poacher Valhalla* IPA

Boy, have I been a slacker. The last beer I posted about brewing was the fall beer, but I’ve made two beers since then. So but let’s just skip ahead to the beer I made last weekend. I’ll call it #11 but it’s technically #13. Lucky #13. A little bit of background on this beer: Ben and Scooter (who are 2/3 of Poacher (the band I’m the other 1/3 of)) thought that we should have a Poacher beer. And I thought: C’mon guys, that’s just AWESOME. But what I said was: OK, I can do that. So we decided that an IPA would be most representative of the band. (Cue pretentious synesthetic music/(tastes?))

Will I ever get tired of IPAs? Probably not, especially when there are so many bad ones that I try that are talked up as good ones. But why talk about bad IPAs when I’m hoping to make a good one. Right? This IPA was modeled, to some extent, after the Dogfish Head IPAs in that the beer was hopped continually throughout the boil (every 10 minutes). But because I don’t have one of those awesome vibrating football board games, I just periodically dropped in more hops during the boil. If there’s an American standard of IPAs, I imagine Dogfish Head owns the proverbial copyright.

So isn’t this post supposed to be about a beer I made?

Software:

1 lb (0.45 g) Briess Rye grain

3.15 lbs. (1.42 kg) Gold extract

6 lbs. (2.72 kg) Organic light extract

3.25 oz. (92 g) Warrior* hop pellets

1/4 tsp Irish moss

Wyeast 1272 American Ale II

Here’s how it all went down.

1. Steeped the rye grain at 150F for 30 minutes. Sparged, removed, and brought the liquid to a boil.

2. Added 28g (1 oz.) of the hop pellets and the Gold extract to the boil

3. After 10 minutes, added 7g hops

organizin'

4. After 20 minutes, added 14g hops

5. 30 minutes–7g hops

6. 40 minutes–14g hops

7. 45 minutes–added Irish moss and 6 lbs Light extract

8. 50 minutes–7g hops

9. 60 minutes–14g hops. Then put the pot into an icechest full of snow (it’d snowed here about 4/5 days earlier and we still had quite a bit in the yard).

10. Pitched the yeast when the wort was below 80F.

OG: 1.069

Just so you know that I’m being completely honest (and if you’re not familiar with brewing and measuring beer gravity, just ignore this), this original gravity is based purely on math rather than what I sampled from the wort. Because I made the mistake of not mixing up the wort with the 3 odd gallons of water that I topped it off with before I pitched the yeast and took a sample to measure. Basically, I pulled about 4 oz. worth of water heavy/wort light  liquid from the top of the fermentor and thought I’d take an accurate reading. Needless to say, I was surprised (but shouldn’t have been) when it read 1.010 OG. But when I put the figures into more than one beer calculators (I mean, why didn’t I hear about these in math class?), I came up with a gravity of 1.066, so that’s what I’m sticking to.

coolin' down

The Poacher beer is currently in the fermentor, and I’ll transfer it to the secondary probably this weekend–we’ll see.