If you’ve been following Frank About Beer for more than a few minutes, you already know that I’m a big fan of India Pale Ales (IPAs). To be more specific, I’m a big fan of the fruity, slightly dry West Coast style IPAs.
So by now you’re probably looking at the photo of Flying Dog‘s NE by way of Maryland IPA, and wondering, “what the heck is a NE IPA?”
(Full disclosure – I was offered a can of Flying Dog’s NE by way of Maryland IPA by a rep of Flying Dog, for which I traded a nicely aged bottle of Founders KBS.)
NE IPA, shorthand for New England, is a newer style of IPA that appeared around 2004 when the highly regarded Heady Topper was first released by The Alchemist Brewery in Vermont. But the style has really come into vogue over the last year or two.
They’re typically unfiltered, giving them a hazy, opaque look (sometimes similar to orange juice). The flavor is usually very fruity and citrus-like, but with a less bitterness and a finish that’s not as dry as other IPAs.
And while I do have a can of Heady Topper in my fridge waiting for a special occasion, this one from Flying Dog is the first New England IPA that I’ve had.
As I expected, it pours a hazy, dark gold and has good carbonation. Much to my surprise, it’s only 6.5% ABV, so it’s on-par with most other IPAs.
The taste, though. WOW.
It’s full of very complex hop flavors – it’s brewed with Citra (fruit), Galaxy (more fruit), Mosaic (a bit earthy) and Warrior (pine) hops – and you can taste every one. As you’d expect, there’s a lot of citrus, grapefruit, and a slight earthiness, but it’s balanced nicely with really sweet malts. If I were to describe the predominant flavor in this, it’s red grapefruit.
And it’s delicious. Look, I really like several of Flying Dog’s beers, but this one is probably the best I’ve had from them. Ever.
Assuming you can still find some (now likely only at the brewery), go get some. IPA fans will love it, but it’s one I’d offer to non-IPA fans to try. It’s more fruity than bitter, and is a really nice sipping beer.
The problem is, it’s a limited release but, given the chance, that wouldn’t stop me from begging FD CEO Jim Caruso to have his brewery staff make more of this. It’s just that good.
C’mon, Jim. Maybe just one more batch?