A couple of shady mobsters form the stylish design of this week’s beer, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers’ Big Daddy IPA. With an ABV of 6.5% and 60 IBUs, this India pale ale promises to be a hefty hop showcase. Founded in 1997 and stationed in San Francisco, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers offers a lineup of prohibition era-themed products.
An offshoot of ale made with pale malt―i.e., pale ale―India pale ale became popular around the turn of the 19th century among troops stationed in British India. The story goes that the preservative qualities inherent in the acids released by the hops formed the basis of this hopped-up style.
American IPAs like Speakeasy’s Big Daddy are an adaptation of the English version and typically use American hops and yeast. The aroma is often fairly intense and may have a citrusy, piney, floral, or fruity fragrance. The flavor often shares the aroma’s characteristics, and may be supported by a moderately malty backbone. The flavor should also be quite bitter, slightly more so than English IPAs but much less so than Imperial IPAs.
Big Daddy is made using three varieties of hop―Columbus, Cascade, and Centennial, all common varieties for the style. Columbus is used mainly for bittering and flavor, and imparts earthy, spicy, and herbal qualities. Cascade is used especially for flavor and aroma, and is flowery, grapefruit-like, and spicy. Centennial is used more so for bittering than aroma, but has flowery and citrusy characteristics. Two-row pale malt (standard) and Light Munich malt (typically found in German lagers) are used.
It pours a clear, bright gold body and a frothy, off-white head. The aroma is sweet and citrusy with apple, grapefruit, and orange zest. There are also undertones of fresh grass and bread. There is smooth, clean, malty sweetness up front in the flavor, soon followed by moderately flavorful hops with a piney, flowery, and spicy character. There is a quick surge of bitterness, and then grainy malt lingers in the finish. It’s quite smooth and medium bodied. There is considerable acidity from the hops, which, along with the subdued carbonation, makes for a good bite.
This IPA is rather well balanced and drinkable: the hops are not overwhelmingly bitter or soapy, and the hop flavors are pleasant enough. While the malt is fairly subdued, it still provides a nice, grainy sweetness to round out the flavor.
Today’s beer was purchased online from Sake Taniguchi through Rakuten Ichiba.
―The Mad Capper