A double American IPA on a Monday night? Surely not! A double IPA, at 11.5% ABV is no after-work quaffer. But, I would argue, on a tired, quiet Monday evening, it is just right. There is, possibly, no better time.
The double IPA that prompted this post is from a classic American craft brewery: Flying Dog. I took it at the end of a double-dog day with an inhumanely early start and travel. The stuff that had to be dealt with after could only be managed by wrestling it. So, when meeting up with a colleague not seen in a while, to wind down with just a couple of beers, it seemed a good (if odd) night for a Double Dog.
A double or imperial IPA is not something I would normally countenance on an evening so early in the week. Or many other evenings. I think of a DIPA (or IIPA) as a special occasion, culmination beer. An after-dinner snifter, a port-and-Stilton finisher, with your Christmas cracker crown finally removed. However, there is a reason why a Monday is better.
Dog Day Evening
A glass of freshly poured Double Dog looks like a giant, pale Irish coffee: thick creamy head atop some translucent liquid resembling molten Aero chocolate bars.
And then a sip… pyrotechnics. Tingling, fiery, resinous, full-on, citrus, earthy, just enough sweetness and plenty, plenty, of bitterness. Hops so hemp-oily, the aroma is like standing on a corner at the Notting Hill Carnival. Five minutes later I lick my lips. I have American hop lip gloss.
So much flavour, so dense. High gravity? nothing can escape it’s pull. Even conversation is sucked into its event horizon.
Often a beer this strong can seem like a bludgeon. Something for the end of an evening when the taste buds have long since called time. But that’s crazy thinking. For a start, a double IPA like this is considerably weaker than a glass of Shiraz. And it’s packed with flavour that deserves to savoured on a night when you can fully appreciate its considerable charms without suffering the consequences.
On the Double
Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery, Maryland, USA.
Style: American Double IPA (or Double Pale Ale), 11.5% ABV, 85 IBUs.
Source: Keg, Bishops Arms pub, Lund, Sweden.
Food pairing: “Mature cheddar, strong blue cheeses, smoked brisket, spicy.”
Flying Dog Brewery beer pages, where oddly, it’s described as a “double pale ale”. Not that it matters. (Image of bottle sourced from here, too.)