India pale ales vary as much as any beer style can. Seemingly subtle differences in hop selection can make a big impression on your palate.
The latest IPA from Carver Brewing Co., Durango's Main Avenue brewpub, takes an English approach to the style.
The IPA is completely organic, using Weyermann malt and hops from New Zealand, Carver's head brewer Erik Maxson says in an e-mail.
"This was a first run for these hops, and we are pretty proud of the result," Maxson says.
The hops exhibit a sunny, orange-like citrus quality, quite unlike the grapefruit flavor found in some of Carver's hoppy beers. It's relatively boozy at 6.9 percent ABV, but hop bitterness is well within the English style (and lower than most American-style IPAs) with 50 IBUs.
This is a well-balanced ale, with enough hop flavor to keep you coming back for more. I prefer it to the comparable Left Hand 400-Pound Monkey. B+
Also of note, Carver's is about to tap (if the brewpub hasn't already) an oatmeal pale ale, Maxson says.
"This time around I have left the herbs out (chamomile and yarrow) because of frequent request for a 'naked' version," Maxson says. "It will be carbonated instead of nitrogenated to help all those hops shine through. Lots of oatmeal in the mash makes it super silky, and a plethora of American hops throughout, mash, boil, knockout, fermentation and conditioning. A true Carver's original."
On a recent visit to Carver's, another bar hand was raving about this beer. That's usually a good sign.