Behold the “regular” IPA.
It is not fruity or hazy or juicy or dank.
It’s not from New England, it’s not from Northwest.
It is not dry or tropical or thick as a milkshake.
And for god’s sake, don’t stand in line for it like you’re on some kind of quest.
It’s not black or brown or imperial or brut,
It’s not sessionable (but drink as many as you’re able).
It’s a “regular” IPA, which is not a style.
It’s just what comes to mind when I think of an India pale ale.
You’ll excuse my bit of doggerel, but I just popped open a can of Old Forge Overbite, a beer that has been unfortunately missing from Philadelphia since the Montour County brewery shrank its sales footprint. I grabbed a sixpack when I visited Old Forge’s taproom in York, Pa. during a What’s Brewing shoot earlier this month.
It’s what used to be known simply as an American IPA, to distinguish it from its blander, less-hoppy British father. This is way before the era of clickbait brews, when every IPA had a certified hops lineage and a fruit salad flavor profile.
And, yes, I know – things change. I’m happy that brewers can express themselves through the wonders of double dry-hopping.
But sometimes I just wanna a “regular” IPA – one that doesn’t have me wondering if it’s going to explode because its 72-hour best-by date has expired.
Overbite is just the ticket. It is smooth and full-bodied, not juicy. That background flavor you’re wondering about? It’s called malt.
And, importantly – because this is an IPA, after all – it is apologetically bitter. A tangy, mouth-drying bitterness with a satisfying finish. When you’re finished, you’re going to want to drink another one.
Or maybe just grab another “regular” IPA. They don’t get much ink, and maybe you’ve forgotten about them. But give one a try.
Here are some of my local favorites:
- Flying Fish HopFish (Jersey) – No one talks about this beer, which is a shame. A completely solid brew with plenty of satisfying hop flavor.
- Spellbound IPA (Jersey) – If you really need that huge hoppy aroma in a “regular” IPA, grab this one.
- Conshohocken IPA (Montco) – Unfortunately, the brewery stopped canning this one as it was eclipsed by the likes of Type A and Hop Life. I mention it here only because my co-host, Glen Macnow, reads Joe Sixpack and I hear he has some influence at Conshy.
- Iron Hill Ore House IPA (All locations) -This is what happens when you let a bunch of brewers get together and make the beer that they want to drink. It does lean toward the citrus side of things, but it’s not a juice bomb.
- Ship Bottom The Shack IPA (Jersey Shore) – Ship Bottom has been known to add fruit and even peppers to this one, but it’s a near perfect glass of bitterness the way it is.
Have you got a favorite “regular” IPA? Let me know.
I have a feeling that we’re gonna be friends.