Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Advent Beer 9: Tapit India Pale ale

Today's beer comes from a new brewery in San Luis Obispo, California, a city which always makes me think of a comic I read in the '80s that featured a charming con man named Sam Louis Obispo. I read the comic before I knew there was a city by that name, so the first I heard of it, I thought the person was joking.

India Pale ales (or IPAs for short), are an interesting style that is growing in popularity. I am reliably informed by the Rare Hipster that they originated from the practice of adding excessive amounts of hops to casks of ale sent from Britain to India as a means of preserving them. The flavourful bitterness of the hops also makes for a particularly refreshing beverage when imbibed in an environment of such heat and humidity that it has been likened to the insides of a dog's mouth. Oh, and before you ask, that beer from Nova Scotia that calls itself an IPA really isn't one; it is a perfectly agreeable corporate lager, but people who try something like this offering from Tapit thinking it to be similar are in for quite the shock.

For openers, there is the hoppy bitterness; citrus esters are discernible from the release of the cap, and the aroma has an almost palpable tang. The resulting clear, goldish orange liquid, topped by a decently pervasive foamy white head, is the very picture of what a cold beer should look like.

The hops are the prevalent taste, as is to be expected from an IPA, and give the beer a distinctive pucker-smack factor right off the hop. Tart lemon is quickly followed by grapefruit taste and aromas, and even a bit of sweet orange near the finish.

Now, an IPA is never the first place I look for a beer, even on hot summer days, but if a couple have come in a combo pack, or has made their way to the barbecue courtesy of a generous guest, I approach them with gusto. I may be adding Tapit's IPA to I the regular rotation, however. The crisp fruitiness never gets too sweet, and at 7% ABV, it's a real tie-loosener to be certain, something else to be wary of if your (in)experience comes by way of Alexander Keith. Highly recommended!

Meanwhile in royal David's city, the animal population continues to rise with the arrival of a cow.

This bemused bovine has hunkered down outside the stable to make room for the humans, their guests, and their eventual baby. I'm certain she is unused to all the additional traffic, but being a cow, takes it all in stride, provided there is hay to eat or water to drink.

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