Identity Crisis in a Bottle
A Review of Dundee India Pale Ale by Dundee Brewing Co.
Posted on 8/16/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
One of the coolest things I've noticed about the craft beer movement is that many stores today have a ''build your own six pack'' section. The concept is pretty simple. The store busts open a couple of six packs, find a couple of shelves to put all the singles on, and then allows you to mix and match as you create your own medley of brews. A few days ago I was at my local store doing just that when I noticed there were a couple of new offerings available in the section that I had not seen before. So with little to no hesitation, I started plucking them from the shelves. The first one that made it into my pack was the Dundee India Pale Ale from Dundee Brewing Company.

When I got home and cracked it open, the first thing that I instantly noticed was its brown coloration. It was actually so brown it caused me to do a double take and check the label on the bottle. I fully expected to read ''Brown Ale'' on the side, but alas the name still read ''Dundee India Pale Ale''. With a shrug of the shoulders I decided to lean in and give it a smell. What I found was a very malt forward layer right on top. Lots of fresh baked biscuits were what instantly came to mind. Once I was able to move past that, a bit of a muted hop profile managed to push its way through in the form of some grapefruit and pineapple. Strangely though, as soon as you noticed them, the malts started to overtake them again. Again I couldn't help but wonder if I had somehow managed to get my hands on a hopped up brown ale.

I would like to state for the record that I had to fight very hard to avoid any preconceived notions when I went in for the first taste. Even though it looked like a brown ale and smelled like a hopped up brown ale, I simply kept reminding myself that my eyes and nose don't always correctly translate to my tongue. But as soon as I took the first sip, I realized that this was one of those times where they were both right. The grapefruit hops managed to cut their way through the malts a little better in the flavor department, but just as in the nose, there was just a very dominant layer of malts that was hard to get past. I will say that as it warmed, it did manage to take on a little more of an IPA feel to it, and what I mean by that is it went from feeling like a full blown brown ale to almost a 50/50 blend of each.

If I am grading the Dundee India Pale Ale strictly according to stylistic rules, I would have to say that it didn't do so well. If I were blindfolded and it were placed in front of me, I don't think that I would have pegged it anywhere near the category of an IPA. Along those same lines however, once it was out of the bottle it did manage to have some tasty qualities to it. So I guess speaking in overall terms, I would probably drink another one if it found its way in front of me, but by no means would I seek it out if I were in the mood for a great IPA. I did manage to grab a couple of other offerings from Dundee when creating my own six pack, so I think I will hold off judgement on the brewery overall until I have worked my way through another pint or two from them.

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Dundee India Pale Ale by Dundee Brewing Co.
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