If you’re reading this article the morning it’s published, between 9:30 and 11:30 on December 7th, I am frantically tapping away at my laptop to finish what should be a ridiculous contracts exam. To be flippant, it’s fitting that the exam falls on Pearl Harbor Day. Suddenly and deliberately…she revoked her acceptance using the provisions granted to her in §2-608 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Or, if you’re reading this at the normal time people think about alcohol, something with a “PM” after the number, I’m probably curled in one of those aluminum foil blankets they give to marathoners to keep their bodies from going into shock. Seeing as I’m writing this in the little free time I have before said exam, forgive me for what is to be a short column today.
On deck is my second beer hailing from Brooklyn that I’ve reviewed so far for The Inclusive. The first was from Brooklyn Brewery, which seems like a corporate giant compared to today’s brewer: Sixpoint Craft Ales based out of Red Hook, Brooklyn. This microbrewery has only been around since 2004 and it just began canning its beers in early 2011, so its reach outside the five boroughs is a fledgling one, but it is on the rise.
Now, note that I said canning, not bottling. The debate in craft beer over cans versus bottles is akin to the debate over wineries that eschew the traditional wooden cork for screw-top bottles. In the wine debate, the pro-cork crowd maintains that only a natural cork can allow the wine to breath and age. Since beer isn’t as widely aged as wine, there isn’t as much of an argument over how well the can seals versus the bottle; instead, canners argue that blocking out light from the beer allows it to reach you in a state of perfection. Whatever your opinion, don’t buy into the talking point that cans make the beer taste metallic. The inside of the can is lined with a protective layer so your precious Bud Light tastes the same in bottles and cans, promise. Overall, the beer community is largely tolerant of either style. Some people can, some people bottle. Live and let live.
Today’s beer is Sixpoint’s Bengali Tiger IPA. Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that last time I walked a fine line of praise and criticism of extremely hop-heavy beers and I decried my dislike for IPAs that are so bitter they make your mouth pucker. Well, today’s beer is none of that sort. The nose is more fruit than piney hop smell, which is great. If you’ve ever had Harpoon IPA from Boston, the smell is very similar, just maybe a bit sweeter. It really makes you want to take a sip.
The part of the beer that differs from the hoppy messes that I despise is its solid malt background. The taste is not simply hop-water, for lack of a better word. The beer is well balanced. It’s International Bitterness Units (IBUs) rating is a 66, which is the same as the Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale I tried last week, but the hops are contrasted with a rich, bready goodness that makes it a more rounded product. The mouth feel is also different than many strong IPAs. There is no oily slickness to the aftertaste; instead it’s a pleasant -- but lingering -- bitterness. This would go amazing with some Pad Thai. After you have taken a few sips you’ll notice that the beer leaves a great trail of lacing down the side of the glass. It’s from this that Sixpoint got the name Bengali Tiger. This tiger though is domesticated, in a good way. Seek this out. Grade: A
Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA
Style: American IPA
Enjoy: Enjoy right from the fridge, but pour it out of the can if you have a glass handy.
Trois Pistoles, Unibroue (Chambly, QC, Canada). Famous for their Fin du Monde beer, this brewer does great work, including brewing Trader Joe’s annual Vintage Ale. A strong, dark ale, it tastes of raisins and plums, a bit like a port on the finish. Good stuff. ABV: 9.0% Grade: A-