A Sentimental Fool Drinks an IPA

When I was in my mid-twenties, I lived in central Massachusetts, working two jobs and hanging out with friends in dive bars, ramshackle apartments, and even more ramshackle rental houses. I didn’t have a lot of money and my luxury item was beer.

Very specifically, I would buy Harpoon IPA. It was the first beer I had ever had that opened my mind up to what beer was beyond something to get you drunk in a dorm room. It was tart and flavorful instead of sweet and thin. It was complex and rich and delicious.

There is a lot of variety in IPAs these days and at some point, there was a race to see which brewery could over-hop their IPAs the most. I don’t necessarily mind the ones that shove grapefruity hop flavor in my face like they were all Jimmy Cagney impersonators. But my first impression of IPAs has influenced what I think the style should offer.

That’s why my first sip of True Respite’s Week Away India Pale Ale tickled me in an unexpected way. It is the type of IPA that made me fall in love with them in the first place. It have a red grapefruit aroma, and that carries through to the mildly bitter flavor, but there are also hints of cedar and bitter melon. All the flavors are subtle and they leave a pleasantly astringent taste in my mouth. Week Away also has a sweetness to it, and it develops a faint candy shell finish as the beer comes to room temp. It’s lovely.