Monday, June 20, 2011

Harpoon's Rich and Dan's "Rye-d" On The Money

Harpoon Rich & Dan's Rye IPA (100 Barrel Series #37)
Brewery: Harpoon Brewery
Style: Rye IPA
IBU: 54
ABV: 6.9%

I'll be honest. About 8 years ago, I HATED hoppy beers. Just give me a nice Coors Light or Killians and let me be. That was my beverage of choice. I can remember hanging out at my friend Ian's apt back in the day and he breaks out a Dogfish 90 min IPA. He insisted that I would love this so being the good friend, I jumped into the pool, no questions asked. After a few sips, I told him, "No thanks man!" and happily went back to my sub par cold-activated beverage with no taste.

Thank GOODNESS, times have changed since then.

Through the years I started trying beer with hops... then some varieties with a little MORE hops... now, there isn't a beer out there that has ENOUGH hops! So now that my mind is TOTALLY open to micros and almost, if not completely, closed off to the macro brew population, in a way, I owe it to my friend Ian for introducing me into the world of deliciousness, ...and for introducing me into a world that makes me spend silly amounts of $$$ on beer. Thanks a LOT! Jerk.

A few years ago, when I just started talking to this girl, Michelle (whom is now my lovely girlfriend of 3 years and going strong...) she told me to stop by her restaurant where they specialized in amazing burgers, bourbon, and you guessed it, BEER! I was a total hop head at this point, so she tells me about this one that they have on tap that I'll like called Boulder Beer Company's Mojo Risen. It was FANTASTIC, but admittedly, not for everyone, especially those that are just opening their minds to the wonderful world of hops.

So it seemed ONLY appropriate to ask Michelle to help me out with this week's Beer411 review, Harpoon Rich & Dan's Rye IPA. At only 54 IBUs, this is a nice introduction to IPAs. I really like what Harpoon is doing with their 100 Barrel Series, too. To celebrate their 25 years of the company, they're asking their own brewers to come up with their own recipes. Revisiting their brewing roots so-to-speak...

Ok, enough banter, let's jump into the pool.

This beer pours and nice golden color with about 1 inch of nice fluffy white head to it. Once we held it up to the light, Michelle pointed out that in addition to the golden color, the beer had almost a orange hue to it. As we soon discovered, this beer would have a WHOLE LOTTA orange going on.

It had a nice lacing along the sides of the glass and didn't seem all that watered down. Given that this is a Rye IPA, the were evident rye/bready smell. Following the orange theme, this beer had a strong citrus nose to it (grapefruit/orange). The hops also gave this beer a pine/grassy essence to it. But, one can only get so much from the nose... drinkin' time.

Bitterness is right up front... but what's nice about this offering is how it disappears so quickly. The taste follows suit with the orange hue and orange smells. The mouthfeel is that of an orange peel with mild grapefruit notes to it. The finish as I mentioned, is nice and dry and goes away before really impacting your taste buds into a downward spiral. A nice easy drinking IPA, but FULL of flavor.

As I said before, this beer is a solid, "gateway" beer into the Hop World. Call it a "Hop-Head-in-Training". Given the bitterness, Michelle thought that this would pair nicely with some sweet potato fries or a burger with some bacon (Man, I love this woman). I could see this beer going very well with some carmelized onions, or onion rings with a sweet dipping sauce.

Overall: Michelle A-, Tony B+. We both really liked this beer... but I do like the hops to linger a little more while Michelle liked that it had a dry finish.

...In other Beer411 news...

I love how the beer world brings us all together... I'd like to give a quick shout out to our friends Mike, Toby and Chris over at the Beercoasters Podcast. If you aren't sure what kind of beers you might like in the vast world of delicious beverages, allow these gentlemen to be your tour guides. With insight from Las Vegas, Boston and Texas, these guys do a great job covering the Beer World. Give them a listen if you have a chance!!

I'd also like to say hello to our new friends on the CT Beer Trail. I don't know how we got by without this website... It's basically the love child of Beer and Facebook. Brew Sessions, new releases, local Beer news... great place to learn about the local craft beer scene.

Alright... have a great week from Beer411!! Cheers!!

Next review(s): New England's Brewing Company, "668 Neighbor of the Beast" & "Allegash's Curieux" - STAY TUNED!!

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