Friday, August 26, 2011

Maumee Bay Brewing Company India Pale Ale

Summer beer season is over, and Oktoberfest season hasn’t quite arrived. Seems like a good time to review an IPA. I don’t review a lot of IPAs. Hell, I don’t even drink a lot of IPAs. But Maumee Bay’s IPA is one of my favorites. Maybe I like IPAs way more than I used to, or perhaps this one’s just better than most. But I had a bomber of this bad boy last night, and it tasted like heaven. In many ways, it’s your standard IPA. Citrus and pine hops hit you hard up front, a grainy/sweet malt backbone emerges for balance, and then the floral & fruity notes leave a lusciously bitter aftertaste. But there’s something really great about this particular IPA that sets it apart. At 80 IBUs, you might be expecting a hop-bomb. Yet it really isn’t. Sure, the hops are the star of the show. But they don’t flat-out dominate. The caramel/bready malt component of this beer is really understated, but it plays a key role in creating a remarkable smoothness. And what can I say? Centennial hops are one of God’s greatest creations. This is truly a well-made IPA. It’s balanced, delicious, and SO smooth! It’s nothing fancy, groundbreaking, or extraordinary. But sometimes the most extraordinary thing a brewer can do is stick to a classic style of beer and simply get it right. Toledo, represent!

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