Old Empire IPA: Nothing Halfway About It

Dubbed “The Original Export”, Old Empire IPA from Marston’s Beer Company in Burton Upon Trent, UK pours a bright golden-amber colour with a frothy white head that doesn’t last very long, but holds on as a collar and paper thin film.

Because it’s packaged in clear bottles, Old Empire IPA can smell a bit skunky at first when exported; it’s best to let it breathe a few minutes. The beer has a bready malt aroma with hops, brewed tea and lemon accents coming through as it warms.

Old Empire IPA
This English Ale has a Crisp Bite

Old Empire IPA tastes of toasted malts and honey. A butterscotch tone is countered by a strong dryness that has a grassy or floral tone to it. The beer is noticeably carbonated, but creamy and slightly yeasty as well. There is a wood character to the finish that has a slight smokiness.

Brutal IPA: Until the Bitter End

Brutal IPA from Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon pours a hazy, rusty caramel colour reminiscent of many double IPAs twice its strength, with an abundant tan head that leaves a fair amount of lace behind before settling as a collar. This ESB-cum-IPA has more of a sweet, fruity aroma than a typical American IPA; like cherries in syrup with a thick, bready maltiness and a tangerine peel citrus note.

Brutal IPA
This IPA has Strong Bitter and Fruit Qualities

Brutal IPA is strongly bitter up front, but with a well-balanced honey-like malted sweetness. There is a faint citrus tang that gives it a bit of pop before going back to bitter. Unassuming, subtle and solid. The beer is fairly thick and heavy on the tongue like yeast at first. A medium carbonation eases it down and somehow it seems to get even more bitter in the aftertaste, but remains tame enough to prevent puckering or dry cheeks.

Southern Tier IPA: From Lakewood with Love

Southern Tier IPA from the Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York pours a clear, golden-amber colour with a sizable, frothy, tan-coloured head that laces and gets retained as a collar. This strong ale has a fresh and appealing hop aroma with lots of citrus tones including grapefruit and tangerine. There is also a nice honey-like sweetness that brightens everything up.

Southern Tier IPA
Be Careful, This One is Stronger than it Tastes

The taste of Southern Tier IPA is surprisingly sweet up front, with a toasted malt overtone. A well-balanced bitterness is followed by buttery, piney and citrus hop tones. The mouthfeel is creamy, with a medium-heavy body and little carbonation. A honey-like sweetness at the end masks the ale’s ABV.

Wells IPA: Taste from the Heart of England

Wells IPA from Wells and Young’s Brewing Company Ltd. In Bedford, UK pours a nice honey-amber colour, with a white soapy head that falls quickly, but leaves behind some nice lace and a collar. The natural mineral water that Wells IPA is brewed with comes through in the aroma, along with a malty sweetness and a decent hop backing.

Wells IPA
This Beer has Become My Go To for Social Occasions and Poker Games

The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium carbonation. The taste of Wells IPA is malty and bready, with a sort of metallic undertone from the mineral water used to brew it. I find it very dry, but not to the point of bitterness. I also note a certain peppery spiciness in the aftertaste along with a distinct earthiness.

Brakspear Triple: The Third Time Adds Charm

Triple from Brakspear Brewing by way of Marston’s PLC and the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire, UK pours a clear rusty copper colour with a creamy off-white head that settles quickly, but leaves a large amount of lace.

This strong ale uses a unique “Double Drop” fermentation process to give it an extremely rich and hoppy aroma with a deep dark fruit and malty bread character, along with pepper and vanilla tones.

Brakspear Triple
Adding Hops Three Times Gives this Beer a Robust Character

The taste of Brakspear Triple is also quite rich. Malt forward with strong wood, cocoa and dark fruit tones, Triple is earthy and a bit like a brown spirit in taste. There is a very well-balanced bitterness. This beer is very complex, very rich and very satisfying.