Not only is summer over here in the Mitten state, fall has swept down upon us with a vengeance. The leaves have curled and succumbed to the season's brilliant double rainbow of colors, the weather person is triumphantly warning of frost, and the seasonal summer wheat and IPAs have given way to Oktoberfest ales and Pumpkin Spice beer.
Screw that noise. I'm having one last taste of summer before I let it go. And Short's, I give you the honor of the last IPA I have this season.
Short's has no shortage of original ideas for beer. Some of them are failures and some of them are epic successes. They already produce one of the best and most respected Michigan IPAs – the Huma Lupa Licious. With such a beautifully crafted specimen in their stable, what caused them to make another IPA?
I don't know either, but thank goodness they did.
The Hangin' Frank IPA is the Huma Lupa's gentlemanly cousin; while the Huma Lupa was out wrestling with the dog on the front lawn, Hangin' Frank was sitting on the porch sipping a bourbon and sweet tea and remarking to your mother how much she still looks like she did in her wedding photos. The beer pours a crisp golden copper that sits beneath a thick, bright white head which stubbornly clings to the side of the glass, like a shower curtain protects your mother from the glances of Mister Hangin' Frank himself.
(I should take a moment to point out that the beer is not named after a matripheliac southernor, but rather the ghost of a man found hung in his shop. Read more information here).
The aroma is pleasant and understated, with a tight citrus hops smell that doesn't overpower a complex mixture of sweet malt and bread flavor underneath. I typically don't enjoy or recommend that people drink IPAs as a session beer, but this one would work quite well.
Tasting the beer brings nothing surprising or uncomfortable to the palate, and that's absolutely perfect. This is a well behaved beer, with all the building blocks of an IPA placed carefully in order. The hops stings the tongue lightly, reminding you that this is not a thick, heavy beer and that you should be in the mood for kids running through the sprinkler and grilling on the patio in order to get the full effect of this beer. The dryness of the hops gives way effortlessly to the mild citrus and gentle sweetness as the beer finishes during exhalation.
There are those who may question Short's calling this beer an India Pale Ale, and I'm willing to agree with them; that said, IPAs are named as such because of their bitter flavor, and the Hangin' Frank has clearly gone to lengths to mitigate and control that bitterness. Indeed, this is more of an American Pale Ale. Considering that, I am most definitely a huge fan of American Pale Ales. Shorts's decision with the Hangin' Frank to take everything that is perfect about IPAs but dialing some of those flavors back a notch is a perfect decision in creating this drinkable and enjoyable summer beer.