Episode 1 – The IPA Style; Boundary Bay IPA


I’m a beer geek.

I’m also a poetry nerd who is addicted to writing Shakespearean sonnets.

In punishment for your many sins, I will be inflicting both of my obsessions upon you, my helpless readers.

For I am Phil Rose (or Doctor Hazelnut)…

 

The Beer Sonnetteer 

 

EPISODE 1

The IPA Style; Boundary Bay IPA

 

Twenty-three years ago I moved to Seattle. I was a poor naïf who had never tried ale; my beer drinking having been confined to light lagers. Obviously I didn’t know what I was missing. But almost immediately my reeducation began when I tried my first ale, at The Big Time Brewery & Alehouse. And it was more than just an ale – it was an India Pale Ale, or IPA to the cognoscenti. (It was, in fact, Big Time’s “Bhagwan’s Best” IPA.)

 

To say my mind was blown would be an understatement. My life was changed forever. And while I’ve tried many beers in the years since then, representing all brewing styles, I have always maintained a special fondness for the IPA style.

 

Part of that is Pacific Northwest partisanship, for while the IPA was invented by the Brits (to survive long sea voyages, the story goes) it was brought to perfection right here. When I go to a beer bar I try to order something new. But if I’ve had everything they feature on tap, I drink a Pacific Northwest IPA. Georgetown’s “Lucille,” perhaps. Or Maritime Pacific’s “Imperial.” (Honesty compels me to mention that, of my three favorite IPAs, two are from the East Coast. Which only proves that, in the universe of beer, nothing can be taken for granted.)

 

Recently I found myself in a beer bar where I’d tried everything they had. So I turned to another old favorite: Boundary Bay’s IPA. Boundary Bay is a brewery based in Bellingham, WA, ‘way up near the Canadian border. Bellingham, science fiction fans will recall, was destroyed in the aftermath of an invasion of Earth by alien space elephants, as chronicled in Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. (Yes, I said space elephants.) Boundary Bay’s Scotch Ale and Oatmeal Stout are exemplars of their respective styles. As for the IPA, read the poems.

 

 

Beer Sonnet #4: India Pale Ale

Originally published in Pin-Up Quarterly, Issue 6, April/June 2012

 

This bitterness is born of history

Of colonists who missed the taste of home

So England sent, in answer to their plea

A precious cargo of the native foam

 

But in the course of such a long voyage

The liquid treasure would go bad, grow tired

And so to last the journey to The Raj

A dose of antiseptics was required

 

So thus the extra hops and alcohol

That are the hallmarks of this potent brew

And though the British Empire may fall

The IPA style will arise anew

 

So history bequeaths upon this ale

Its legacy: A stronger shade of pale

 

 

Beer Sonnet #7: Boundary Bay IPA

 

An IPA. The source? Boundary Bay

“Oh no!” cries Chekhov’s voice inside my head

(That last line makes no sense at all, you say?

Then read a non-geek’s beer review instead)

 

It pours a cloudy amber in the glass

It has a pleasant orange-grapefruit scent

The head is small, there isn’t that much gas

The alcohol is 6.4%

 

The hops are balanced perfectly with malts

(This beer is not a “hop bomb,” so be warned)

The taste becomes a pine-and-citrus waltz

It’s classic; clean and crisp and unadorned

 

So when you tire of different and new

Return to this reliably good brew


About Phil Rose

I’m a beer geek. I’m also a poetry nerd who is addicted to writing Shakespearean sonnets. In punishment for your many sins, I will be inflicting both of my obsessions upon you, my helpless readers. For I am Phil Rose also known as Doctor Hazelnut…

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