Sometimes you just want a good beer
A Review of Harpoon IPA by Harpoon Brewery
Posted on 10/3/2012 by Chops
In a craft beer world seemingly overwrought with palate punishing imperial IPAs, it can be really difficult for standard versions to get noticed. There is a cloudy gray area where hoppy pale ales and baseline IPAs reside. They are often mistaken for one another and dinged accordingly. It's unfortunate that the IPA style is getting so mercilessly skewed because it steals focus away from beers like the Harpoon IPA. It's not merciless or flashy or even aggressive. It's just a tasty IPA. It won't knock your socks off, but that's not the point. Sometimes you just want a good beer.

In the glass, the Harpoon IPA has a clear golden honey coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that has good retention. On the nose, I detected a piney citrus aroma with an underlying grassy note. That was pretty much it. When baseline IPAs are done right and when breweries resist the urge to spin the style, there's not a whole lot to discuss. Golden hue? Check. Good head? Check. Hoppy citrus? Check. Let's do this.

The mouthfeel is what caught my attention on the first sip. It's somewhat thin, very crisp, and almost ventures into a soft pale ale territory. Hop heads might view this as off-balanced, but general drinkers will appreciate the accessibility. It's extremely clean and refined, but it still tastes like an IPA. The flavor consists of a tangy piney citrus with some faint honey-like sweetness. The beer exits dry with a lingering bitter aftertaste. This is an interesting IPA because it's so direct and single minded. To be honest, it reminds me a lot of a single hop imperial IPA, only mild and accessible.

Overall, the Harpoon IPA is a tasty and focused baseline IPA. Due to its high accessibility, I can recommend this beer to most beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will find this brew to be a great session IPA. Novices can reap the benefits of a great stylistic introduction. Its clean and focused nature allows for a good study in what a savory hop profile brings to the table. I enjoyed my experience with the Harpoon IPA and will certainly enjoy more in the future. It's unique among the baseline brews and I appreciate it for what it is: just a damn good beer.

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Harpoon IPA by Harpoon Brewery
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