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Celebrating 30 years of Harpoon IPA


The recipe hasn’t modified in 30 years.

Harpoon IPA Courtesy

For so long as a number of us can keep in mind, ordering an IPA at a Boston-area bar often meant you wished and/or have been getting a Harpoon.

This summer season marked 30 years since Harpoon grew to become the eponymous India Pale Ale model in Boston, and for causes we’ll get into, it’s a milestone that appears particularly poignant right this moment.

“We have been the primary craft IPA on the East Coast,” says Dan Kenary, Harpoon’s co-founder and CEO. “We began with training, as a result of again then the buyer didn’t know what we have been speaking about. So we’d inform the story in regards to the British troops in India, hops, and the upper alcohol content material used to protect the beer throughout transport.”

When Harpoon burst onto the scene with its IPA in 1993, there have been related beers on the West Coast and in England, however the New England area was not but identified for the type. At this time, after all, the New England-style IPA has taken on a wholly totally different that means, outlined by beers like Vermont’s Heady Topper and juicy choices from Massachusetts breweries like Trillium and Tree Home. Regardless of these modifications within the market, and perhaps additionally now due to them, Harpoon’s branding has stood the check of time. The unique IPA continues to be an organization best-seller.

How does a 30-year-old beer stay widespread? Kenary factors to its simplicity, which is made much more stark as IPAs have exploded in reputation within the final decade-plus.

“We love the type as a result of it’s so superbly balanced and showcases the 4 components of beer (water, hops, yeast, and barley) in such an exquisite method,” says Kenary.

Styled after an English IPA, Harpoon IPA is brewed with American hops, giving us one of many earlier examples of a method the nation would come to like. The recipe hasn’t modified in 30 years, Harpoon says: Cascade, apollo, and chinook hops present the chunk, whereas Harpoon’s proprietary home yeast provides some fruity esters. At 6 p.c alcohol by quantity, it’s a large enough beer to matter however not so massive that it overwhelms.

Final 12 months, Mass Bay Brewing Firm, which incorporates Harpoon, concluded the acquisition of Vermont brewery Lengthy Path. Kenary factors to Lengthy Path Ale as being just like Harpoon IPA by way of endurance.

“They’re not the shiny penny within the drawer, doubtlessly. However individuals get type of a consolation in going to locations and seeing these beers which have been round for some time,” says Kenary. Within the rush to make beers hoppier, heavier, and better in alcohol, Kenary says, “Generally individuals rush by some actual gems.”

My very own relationship with Harpoon IPA has developed over time. Early in my beer writing days, I keep in mind a Harpoon PR rep asking what I considered Harpoon IPA, and me being a bit of dismissive as I talked about some hop monstrosity from Colorado. As my palate grew to become fatigued by aggressive, and now overly candy, IPAs, I’ve come again round to classics like Harpoon IPA because the type of beer I’m going out of my approach to drink.

“There’s a purpose why individuals need these beers,” says Kenary. “And why they’ve caught round so long as they’ve.”

Harpoon is operating a particular “golden can” promotion for its IPA quickly. From Oct. 15 to Dec. 1, prospects who discover a golden can in a Harpoon IPA 12-pack can win a vacation occasion for as much as 30 individuals at one of many brewery’s faucet rooms, in addition to different prizes.