Monday, July 19, 2010

Bottled Michigan: Michigan Brewing Company High Seas IPA

I don't really drink all of my beers at my kitchen counter, really.  This is just a coincidence.  Really.

Michigan Brewing High Seas IPA

When I hear the name India Pale Ale, I've come to expect certain things. A floral bouquet in the aroma. Hops, front and center, from the second the beer hits my lips until a few breaths after I swallow. Flowers and citrus fruit running in an undercurrent under the hops. Malt flavor hidden, if detectable at all. The words dry, bitter, flowery come to mind. I love them. . . but IPAs are not beers I recommend to a beginner's palate.

Michigan Brewing Company's High Seas IPA dials all that aggressiveness down a notch and comes up with one very respectable, very drinkable India Pale Ale. It still has all the hallmarks of your typical IPA: a generous bronze color with a thick, white head that dissipates slowly: an aroma strongly scented of hops and flowers: a first taste of dry hops. . .but that's where my expectations went off track. The High Seas IPA is much smoother than I anticipated; the taste of dry hops is backed by a strong hint of sweet caramel malt, and letting it sit in your mouth evokes none of the dry-mouth you'd expect from an IPA. Exhaling strengthens the caramel flavor, blending with and diminishing the dry hops with notes of citrus.

Michigan Brewing Company's High Seas IPA is an India Pale Ale you can serve to your grandmother and be confident she'll like it; it's got the depth and personality of a great Michigan beer, yet the gentle bedside manner of a hospice worker. Be aware, though; at 7.2% a.b.v., this is not a beer for the consumption drinker.


Beau said...

I had this on tap last summer, I am interested in "re-tasting" it now with a more sophisticated beer pallet.

Seth said...

Definitely one of my favorite Michigan IPAs right now -- comparable to HopCat's locally brewed IPA. I'd even compare it Dogfish Head's 60 minute, although it lacks some of the complexity of the Dogfish Head.

Mr. B said...

You TOTALLY drink all your beers at your kitchen counter. Don't lie.

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