The IPAs we have all grown accustomed to are the ones bursting with an array of hops aromas and the pronounced bitter kick that may linger well into the finish. This was not always the case with the earliest versions. Most stuck to one or two varieties of hops on a medium malt backbone. Harpoon IPA by Harpoon Brewery of Boston, MA exemplifies that earlier style, as does Bell’s Two Hearted IPA. Harpoon uses a two-row barley malt to support the Cascade and Cluster Hops aromas/flavors resulting in a classically balanced IPA.
Harpoon IPA pours a clear amber color producing a nice fluffy white head with good retention. The Cascade and Cluster Hops provide citrus aromas of grapefruit and oranges that distinguish the nose. You also get some toasty bread hints from the lightly roasted malts. Tastes include citrus notes combined with the sweet malt that you would expect from a beer of amber color. Bitterness is quite restrained; however, the sweetness is as well, giving it a nice balance between the two. It finishes on the dry side with a medium aftertaste.
I liked the Harpoon IPA very much, placing it in my top three. It is good to still have it around to anchor one end of a pretty broad spectrum of American IPAs. It is very drinkable; however, it is a bit fuller bodied than many of the IPAs on the market today.
Would I recommend it? Yes