Tap takeover: an India Pale Ale for every palette

"Think Beer Drink Beer" colum­nist ex­plores the world of IPAs and finds, as usu­al, there's something for every­one. Beer's just great like that.

It’s the little things that make me real­ize what a beer-fo­cused place Philly is.  That idea proved true yet again this past Wed­nes­day, when I vis­ited In­ter­state Draft House (1235 E. Palmer St.) for an IPA (In­dia Pale Ale) tap takeover.

On tap was a se­lec­tion of eight craft IPAs from around the coun­try. These beers covered a wide range: from clas­sic and crisp to big im­per­i­al mon­sters to a few Bel­gian-in­spired cre­ations.

My fa­vor­ite of the list was the Im­per­i­al IPA from An­der­son Val­ley. It had a much stronger malt fla­vor than most IPAs of this style, but this 8.7% ABV beer was still quite drink­able.

I’ll ad­mit I am not as much of a “hop-head” as most craft beer drink­ers, so a well-bal­anced IPA ap­peals to me more than what could be a called a “hop bomb.”

An­oth­er standout im­per­i­al IPA was the Smuttyn­ose Big A.  This was stronger, at 9.7% ABV, but was drier and less malty.  The cit­rusy hops were very present, both in taste and aroma.

The Blue Point No Apo­lo­gies was my least fa­vor­ite. It was too strong and sweet and also had that slightly ox­id­ized fla­vor that Amer­ic­an Bar­ley­wines have. To my sur­prise, though, all of my beer-sampling com­pan­ions loved it.

Clearly, taste is very sub­ject­ive.

The most unique of­fer­ing at the bar was the Lost Coast Bel­gian Tripel IPA. There is hop fla­vor and a bit­ter fin­ish but this beer per­fectly bal­ances Bel­gian on the front end and IPA on the back end. I hope this beer goes from a one-off from the brew­ery to a sea­son­al or reg­u­lar pro­duc­tion beer.

If you are feel­ing beered-out at the Draft House, then In­ter­state’s Fishtown Iced Tea is your drink. It’s a Long Is­land iced tea made with Fishtown’s ubi­quit­ous Arc­tic Splash drink, and served in an Arc­tic Splash car­ton.

The sug­ar rush is prob­ably strong enough to coun­ter­act the booze, but don’t let the sweet­ness fool you in­to think­ing you could handle much more than just one.

Oh, and don’t throw the car­ton on the side­walk when you’re done. That’s just bad form.

Up­com­ing Beer Event: In­ter­state Draft House is one of the many ven­ues par­ti­cip­at­ing in the 5th an­nu­al Philly Beer Week this June.  A cel­eb­ra­tion of all things beer, there will be over 150 events at bars, brew­er­ies, parks, and ho­tels in the city and sur­round­ing counties from June 1-10. 

The fest­iv­it­ies kick off with Open­ing Tap, a huge sampling event with dozens of re­gion­al brew­er­ies. 

Go to philly­beer­week.org for more de­tails.

Note: It is with great sad­ness that I have to in­form my loy­al read­ers that this column is chan­ging from a weekly to a monthly fea­ture of the Star.  I still plan to bring you art­icles on beer events, home brew­ing, food pair­ings, the grow­ing Philly beer scene and much more, you’ll just have to wait longer.  Ex­pect more de­tails on Philly Beer Week in the com­ing weeks as well.

Tim Pat­ton is a Fishtown res­id­ent and the Brew­mas­ter at St. Ben­jamin Brew­ing Com­pany, a brew­ery open­ing in Kens­ing­ton this sum­mer. As a skilled brew­er, he’s cer­tainly par­tial to his own brew, but en­thu­si­ast­ic about all that the Philly beer scene has to of­fer. Got beer or brew­ing news he should be clued in on?  Email him at brew­mas­ter@stben­jamin­brew­ing.com.

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