005: Red Hook Longhammer, Your Everyday IPA
Beer has become one of my passions over the last few years, and I love to share that passion with others. In that spirit I plan to bring regular Monday postings on the best and the worst of the things I try. But, before we dive into this first one I would like to make a few disclosures.
1. I am not a beer snob. I can just as much joy in guzzling half a dozen Miller High Lifes as I can in slowly sipping my way through 3 or 4 intricate craft beers.
2. I am not a beer nerd. I plan on starting to brew one day soon, but I have no intimate knowledge of the science and art of beer making.
3. I am not a beer connoisseur. My palette is not intricate and refined. Sure I can pick out things like a strong citrus or coffee flavor, and I can tell the difference between things that are bitter and sweet, but at the end of the day I usually can’t tell you a whole lot about the flavor profile of a beer.
Now that that’s all off my chest, let us begin.
Your Everyday IPA
As a resident of the South, particularly Florida which was firmly in the grip of Anheuser-Busch, it took a little longer to start reaping the benefits of the craft beer revolution that has swept across America in the last several years. One of the first beers to start penetrating shelves here was Red Hook’s Longhammer IPA, and I was eager to try it since one of my first experiences with craft beer took place in Washington State. It quickly blossomed into one of my perennial favorites, drinking it with regularity and always wanting to share it with others.
Obviously the IPA has exploded in both variety and popularity almost to the point of over-doing it and creating a backlash. They come in all shapes, sizes, flavorful varieties, and ABV’s. The IPA has almost become synonymous with what I like to call the taste bud punch. This is where the hoppiness/bitterness of the beer completely overwhelms the sense of taste in your mouth. Now, for me personally I enjoy a beer with a heavy taste bud punch, but I generally only want one, maybe two of them. In addition most of these beers carry with them an equally heavy ABV, generally sitting somewhere north of 7.0% ABV. I know and completely understand how one or both of these things could turn someone off from a beer.
So, perhaps this is why I love Longhammer so much. It is a much tamer, less intense or robust version of the IPA. It is truly a great, smooth, highly drinkable beer. It lacks the taste bud punch yet still packs a heavy dose of delicious flavors. It’s also only carries a 6.2% ABV, which means that knocking back 5 or 6 of these won’t carry you quite as far down the river as some of its heavier hitting cousins. It’s great for anything from a summertime back yard BBQ to a dinner party to a holiday season bonfire (it even has the right color scheme for the holidays.) I definitely recommend this as either a great intro to the IPA variety or as a regular staple to pick up at the grocery store. Oh! I almost forgot, it also hits at a solid $1.00-$1.50 less per six pack than most other IPAs. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it.