New England IPA, what’s the bitter-sweet rivalry?
Like Sydney and Melbourne, the East Coast and West Coast of the USA have a longstanding rivalry. Palm trees and surf versus snow and skyscrapers, brash and bold versus culture and cold, Lakers versus Celtics … you get the picture. The most infamous rivalry of all: the hip-hop feud between Tupac (West) versus Biggie (East).
(Incidentally, both were murdered in drive-by shootings, which may have been taking
things a tad far.)
Instead of hip-hop, there’s now just a hop-related rivalry brewing. The established West Coast IPA is well-known. Generally a hoppy bunch – they’re closer to all the California hop farms – West Coast IPAs are all about the in-your-face use of hops. Big bitterness and brash aromas of grapefruit peel, lemon rind and peppery pine.
But not one to let the West Coast kids get too cosy and complacent with their IPA prevalence, the East Coasters saw the bitter brew and raised them a fruitier beer. The New England IPA elbowed its way on to the scene like a New Yorker in a bagel queue.
New England IPAs aim to refine the hops. Raw resinous aromas have been smoothed into a sweet and fruity flavour experience, and bitterness has been dialled back to deliver a fuller and more rounded palate than typical IPAs, making them deliciously downable. As a consequence of unique yeast strains and early ferment hopping, the beer will often be left with a satisfying hazy appearance.
Don’t let us cloud your judgement, though – while the ‘haze craze’ shows no sign of slowing down, we don’t see any need for a bitter rivalry. There are many nuances to IPAs, after all, and we love them all, so why pick a side? (We’ll always be #TeamTupac, though.)
Our latest IPA release is a 7.5% New England IPA, a tutti-frutti flavour bomb that’s smooth on the palate and pleasing to the nose, with a subdued bitterness and a slightly hazy finish.