A couple months ago, I was handed a couple pre-release cans of “End of the Road” New England IPA from Baltimore’s Key Brewing.
As you may recall, NE IPAs (shorthand for New England) is a newer style of IPA that appeared around 2004 in Vermont, but has really gained widespread popularity 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 (also like orange juice), but with a lot less bitterness and a finish that’s not as dry as other IPAs.
Across the Tracks is true to form with a hazy, opaque gold color, good carbonation, and a nice 7.1% ABV alcohol content.
The beer has a heavier body to it, and the taste starts out with LOTS of citrus – mostly grapefruit and orange – which fades to a quick, slightly bready taste from the malt, but then flips back to that great citrus flavor with a bit of sweetness that shows up in the aftertaste. There’s really not much hop bitterness going on, and that makes it really, really smooth.
Key has put out some good NEIPA-style beer this past year, and I honestly think this is probably their best one so far.
Definitely one I’d recommend trying – even if you don’t like IPAs. If you wanted to try a NEIPA, this one is very approachable, fruity, and its lack of bitterness means it goes down very easily. I actually had three which, at 7.1% ABV, caught up to me quickly, so just keep that in mind.
Across the Tracks is the second of a series of special NEIPA releases from Key that, when read together, will reveal a secret message that only makes sense if you have all of the cans together. So far, there’s “End of the Road” and “Across the Tracks”, so it seems like the beginnings of a cool scavenger hunt…
And if the clues taste this good, it seems like we’ve already won the prize.