If you know me or of me, you will know I like beer. Over the last few years I have been collecting photos of every new beer I have.
I now have over 2,000 individual beers photographed and have realised that many beers that I assumed I have photos of, I haven't.

This blog will be therefore be an account of my quest for new beers to photo and how I enjoyed them (or not).
My email is ralphgant@sky.com.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

India Pale Ale (IPA)

I have had a quiet couple of weeks since the Christmas and new year holidays and also returning from a trip to York.  My laptop gave up the ghost and recovering all the info not backed up, took a lot of my time and resources. Is this an excuse for not blogging much lately, probably, so I better get on with it.

A friend asked the other day if I had seen an IPA as week as 3.6% (I had) but it started the debate, on whether the lower alcohol beers called IPA actually are IPA.  I discovered that these lower alcohol IPAs, have been brewed in Britain since at least the 1920s, so they must class as IPA by virtue of the historical use of the name.

I will not go into the full history but Classic IPAs are traditionally, strongly hopped pale ales, with a varied alcohol content, the higher alcohol content versions being viewed as the norm by most.

In the USA, IPA or American IPA, has really taken off and IPA is described by ratebeer as

IPA, This style, the modern version of which has largely been formed in the US, has an intense hop flavor which was used to preserve the beer for the long voyage. India Pale Ale has a golden to copper color with a medium maltiness and body. The aroma is moderate to very strong. IPAs work especially well at cutting the heat of chili, vindaloo or Sichuan cuisine. In England, IPA is often just another name for bitter although some micros are doing their own versions of an American IPA as well.

I am not a big fan of beers that are over hopped but many IPAs are very nice and also very refreshing. So now for some examples.

Greene King from England is well known for making IPA but not everyone realises they make more than one version. From the relatively week 3,6% up to the strong 7.5%.

Greene King, IPA, England

Greene King, IPA Export, England 52 beers 4 - 21, Greene King, Very Special India Pale Ale, England

IPA, 3.6% amber with a thin head, hop aroma, a nice light hop taste and very easy to drink.

IPA Export, 5.0% darker than your usual IPA, light hop aroma and it had a hint of toffee in the taste, very nice.

Very Special India Pale Ale, 7.5% amber colour with a thin head, citrus hop and malt aroma, strong hop and alcohol taste, maybe a bit to much for my taste.

Other lower alcohol IPAs are

Wells, Eagle IPA and Cains, IPA both from England

Wells, Eagle IPA, England   Cains, IPA, England

Eagle IPA, 3.6% amber colour with a poor head, some hops in the aroma, watery IPA taste.

Cains, IPA, 3.5%, amber no with head, very little aroma, watery taste and not much hops at all, very poor. It was like a very cheep 2.0% supermarket own brand beer.

Two stronger IPAs both from Scotland by BrewDog.

Week 5-52 Beers, BrewDog, Punk IPA, Scotland   BrewDog, Tesco Finest American Double IPA, Scotland

Punk IPA, 6.0% pale gold with no head, aroma of old pub, some grapefruit very bitter hop taste, did not like, I think this must be what a lot of the USA produced IPA is like.

Tesco Finest American Double IPA, 9.2% deep amber colour with a very thin head, sweet citrus and blackcurrant aroma (dont know what citrus though), taste is hops hops hops, the would USA would love it, I didn't it was overpowering and foul.

Told you I wasn't keen on over hopped beers, and as I also said there are many good IPAs out there and I will be reviewing more soon.

1,000 Beers

Just noticed that my beer photo collection has reached the 1,000 different beers milestone. Its been hard work but someone has to do it.

There have been highs and lows along the way and a not inconsiderable amount of money involved. Thankfully the highs have been much more than the lows and there are not many beers I have had to pour down the drain.

The lowest of the low, has to be Brouwerij Rodenbach, Rodenbach from Belgium, you may have read my rantings about it before but it is foul. Horrible beer very sour and vinegary, it tastes like Cameron's Strongarm when the barrel has gone off (just ask anyone from North East England what that is like). As far as I can tell these beers are made from, presumably good beers, that are deliberately soured, using aged off beer or Lactobacillus (a lactic acid bacteria) to produce a foul tasting product that is still called beer. Anyway Rodenbach is a 5.2% Sour Ale, very sour and vinegary, not nice at all, had it on draught and it was bad then but I was convinced to give it another go, it was the wrong decision. I have been drinking beer for 40 something years and did not know there was such a thing as Sour Ale, it must be an acquired taste but one the majority will never get, the sour, acidic taste made my throat sore but I did finish it.

Brouwerij Rodenbach, Rodenbach, Belgium  Brouwerij Rodenbach, Rodenbach, Belgium

Of the many highs, I have picked another Belgian beer, Van Steenberge, Gulden Draak, I don't want to give the impression that I don't like Belgian beers. Gulden Draak is a 10.5% very dark red in colour beer with a thin head, lot of fruit in the aroma and the taste is very complex, it was like eating a quarter pound of Midget Gems in one go, Lyons Midget Gems that is, not Maynards and it is strong (Midget Gems are a UK thing I think). I is not the strength though that make this a favorite, it is full of flavor and taste,

Van Steenberge, Gulden Draak, Belgium

I could go on but I would have nothing to write about in future blogs, however you can view all of the 1,000 beers here

Beer Cans