Friday, July 1, 2011
The Session #53: The Return of Harpoon
Welcome to The Session - a collaboration of bloggers writing on a common beer-related topic. For the month of July, John Holl of John Holl's Beer Briefing chose "Beer Redemptions" as the collective topic to explore. A round-up of all the blog posts will be posted in the near future. You can read more about Beer Blogging Friday ("The Session") over at the Brookston Beer Bulletin.
After reading the description for the July topic for the Session, one beer experience became crystal clear in my mind. Harpoon IPA. The beer is now a staple in the New England market, but the very first time I tried the beer, it was a novelty and something exotic. And it was god-aweful on my palate. My first taste was back in the college days where beer was predominately an alcohol delivery mechanism. But Harpoon IPA (along with Brooklyn's India Pale Ale) was my first IPA experiences. I can almost vividly remember thinking "what the hell was wrong with this beer?". "Who would drink this stuff?" I was certainly not a fan. But it was alcohol and its what we had, so we choked it down hoping the buzz would come fast to alleviate the bitterness.
After such a negative experience, I must have had gone a decade before going back and trying an IPA. It wasn't until my palate had developed and I was able to associate IPAs with other flavors (i.e. grapefruit, citrus, floral, etc) as opposed to just liquid bitterness that I began to crave something hoppy. Call it maturity. Call it an evolution in taste. The things we find repulsive sometimes return to become desired.
So why is this a beer redemption? Since blossoming into a craft beer fan over the last several years, Harpoon IPA has passed through my pint glass innumerous times. It's a go-to-beer for me when the draft selection is just macro lagers. It's a favorite. The kicker is that the overly-aggressive and bitter beer of my youth is now timid compared to other IPA offerings in today's market. That's the redemption.
Thanks for John Hull for hosting this months Session!
"There is more to life than beer alone, but beer makes those other things even better."