Beer 101: Making Your Way to an IPA

So you’re new to beer, or you’re comfortably into your favorite American lagers and want to check out the world of craft beers. It’s easy (and fun) to branch out, and we’ve got a plan for you to expand your beer palate. Let’s call it Beer 101.

img_6803If you’re used to the world of Miller, Coors, and Bud, the best first entry into a craft beer is often a lager. Lagers are fermented at cold temperatures and also use a specific type of yeast – lager yeast.

A flavorful lager to start with is North Conway’s Moat Mountain Czech Pilsner before you move into something a little hoppier like a Maine Island Trail Ale from Rising Tide Brewing in Portland, ME, or Switchback Extra Pale, made in Burlington, VT. Those types of pale ales typically have a slightly higher alcohol content as well as a stronger hop flavor.

From there, it’s ok to move to the world of the IPA. Not a full-blown IPA like a Heady Topper, mind you, but a low-hopped session IPA. The ABV% in these is a little lower (hence the term “session,” which implies that you can drink multiple beers in a session, instead of one or two), and they’re not quite as hoppy as your typical IPAs. Great examples of these (and there are many) include Founders’ All Day IPA; Moat Mountain’s delicious East Intervale IPA; Manchester’s own Great North Aleworks’ Tie Dyed; and Harpoon Brewery’s Take 5, brewed in Windsor, VT.

You’ve made it through and run the gauntlet of beers, and now you’re good to try the world of IPAs. There are so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick a few, but we’ll try.
– Derry’s own Kelsen Brewing Company makes the amazing BattleAxe.
Woodstock Inn’s IPA is made in Lincoln and is worth the trip up (or you can find it on our shelves).
Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union, which is an IPL. This means it combines west coast hops with lager yeast fermentation, an interesting combination which makes for an exciting flavor profile.
– Maine’s Banded Horn Daikaiju Double IPA is a tasty option that can be found on our shelves… but this is definitely a more complex beer.

It is certainly possible (and enjoyable) to expand your beer horizons! Plus, it gives you new options every time you walk into the store, and turns mere consumption into something more enjoyable. One thing to remember when you’re increasing the hoppiness, sourness, or ABV% of your selections is our three-sip rule:
• The first sip is to prime your palate;
• The second is to allow your palate to accept the beer;
• The third sip is to get your palate ready to enjoy the beer.

Enjoy your tour of new beers, and we’ll see you in the store!