Thursday, August 04, 2016

Why I WON'T be celebrating #IPADay

Generally speaking, I save rants for the Facebook page; and I don't wish to toss cold beer on the celebration, but ...


...I WON'T be celebrating Eee-Puh Day today.

That's IPA Day, celebrating a beer style that floats the American 'craft' beer boat, in which the word "India" has lost any meaning as a tag for the second most populous nation on Earth but has transmogrified into a stand-in synonym for hops, not of Indian agronomy but of new-form American hops.

Of a light ale with peach extract added, a bartender recently said this to me: "It's a Kölsch because that's what the brewery tells us it is." And so it is with IPA today: it is whatever an American 'craft' brewery decides it should be, convention or historical recipe monads be damned.

There are latter-day Eeh-Puhs that taste only of hops, sneering at the inconvenient necessity of malt.

There are those that take pride in the visually repugnant.

And there are those —you're forgiven if confused— in which the mere presence of hops is no longer a sine qua non. Take, for example, the fruited IPAs that taste of Hawaiian Punch rather than hops. If disliking these childish, sweet alco-pops puts me in the category of IPA haters who inform everyone that they can’t stand IPAs, then I stand guilty.

But I would stipulate that I do indeed like IPAs — firm and bracing, and, yes, hoppy and bright— just not those made with fruit flavorings and extracts, or those infused with other gratuitous ingredients, or those that are made ugly beyond measure, or those that are redolent only of tropically-fruity hops or devoid of any malt character, or those that are hailed as if never-before-seen hoppy pale ales re-branded as "session", or others that are simply something else — stouts, wheats, Belgianesques— but with a lotta hops: each, in various measure, guilty of one-dimensional trickery and pandering, the antithesis of any reasonable measure of 'craft.'

If that's IPA Day, thank you, but I'll pass.


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