Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac India Pale Ale

This week's Sunday Night Suds review looks at another of the Saranac brews - the Saranac India Pale Ale.

India Pale Ales (aka IPAs) are one of the oldest forms of ales which are still available today. As noted by the gurus at Beer Advocate, IPA were:
First brewed in England and exported for the British troops in India during the late 1700s. To withstand the voyage, IPA's were basically tweaked Pale Ales that were, in comparison, much more malty, boasted a higher alcohol content and were well-hopped, as hops are a natural preservative. Historians believe that an IPA was then watered down for the troops, while officers and the elite would savor the beer at full strength. The English IPA has a lower alcohol due to taxation over the decades. The leaner the brew the less amount of malt there is and less need for a strong hop presence which would easily put the brew out of balance. Some brewers have tried to recreate the original IPA with strengths close to 8-9% abv.
On this side of the pond, they brew the American IPA's a little differently than their English counterparts. Going back to Beer Advocate, "The American IPA is a different soul from the reincarnated IPA style. More flavorful than the withering English IPA, color can range from very pale golden to reddish amber. Hops are typically American with a big herbal and / or citric character, bitterness is high as well. Moderate to medium bodied with a balancing malt backbone."

The Saranac IPA certainly is true to the American IPA style. The beer itself is a deep copper color with more than a little bitterness. The Heineken man visited this weekend and asked whether he could have some of the beers in my fridge. Yes, I responded, but stay away from the Saranac India Pale Ale as it is too hoppy for a lager lover like you (OK maybe I did not say it exactly like that, but it was pretty close).

The Saranac IPA goes very well with full flavored food such as spicy Chinese or Mexican fare. If when you order a beer you ask for a "pint of bitters" this may be just the drink for you.

Saranac Pale Ale is under the kashruth supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit, as are all other beer produced by Saranac. For the experts take on Saranac Pale Ale, please click here

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

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