Saturday, July 11, 2009

11. Southampton India Pale Ale

From the Southampton Publick Alehouse in Southampton, NY comes Southampton India Pale Ale. Luckily for you, I have no arcane tales about my past associations with the beer or brewery—just the alliterative joy found in repeating Southampton.

Southampton IPA has a fruity nose with an amber color and light clean carbonation. While it has a bit of flat start, it quickly climbs into a malty body that has caramel and butterscotch hints, making this very reminiscent of English Ales. There is some hop bitterness in the middle, but not a lot of hop flavor as the beer moves towards the finish—it closes with a return to malt sweetness and a bit of a noticeable hop bitterness. Overall, the hop profile seems underdone in relation to the style; there is hop bitterness, but not a lot of either hop nose at the beginning or hop flavor in the body. As beer warms, the nose does become a bit hoppier, as does the finish, but this is really more a case of too little, too late—the floral and grapefruit notes mentioned below never really made an appearance. While both the bottle and the website laud the careful balance between American and European IPAs, along with the subtle balance of hop varieties within the beer, balance here seems to be the new term for “unable to afford enough hops to make it a real IPA.”

From the Southampton website: “Balance. That’s what separates India Pale Ales. And that’s the difference between the Southampton IPA and most others.

Southampton IPA is balanced between the hopped-up West Coast-style IPAs and the Old World characteristics of a traditional European IPA. You could say that Southampton IPA is located somewhere between Europe and California, figuratively and literally.

Phil uses three grains and a blend of three American and two English hop varieties to make this complex and delicious IPA. It’s full of floral hop aroma and has fruity apricot and grapefruit overtones. It has an assertive hop flavor and a refreshing hop bitterness while still showing plenty of caramel malt character to balance the flavor.

It features more balance than any other IPA brewed in America. The result is an American-style IPA with the Old World characteristics of a traditional European IPA.”

ABV: 6.1%
IBU: 40
Malts: 2-Row Malt, British Caramel Malt, Wheat Malt
Hops: Centennial, Cascade, Vanguard, East Kent Goldings, UK Fuggles


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