02 December 2009

Meantime India Pale Ale

Meantime India Pale Ale
London, England
7.5% ABV

What is it with corked beers always trying to cover me with foam? I admittedly have to store them on their sides in the fridge as the shelves aren't quite high enough to allow a bomber or 750mL bottle to sit upright, but lately it seems that every corked beer I open wants to jump out of the bottle. I've come to the point of making sure I have my glass very close just in case of inadvertent foam explosion.

Anyway. Because I'm a Stupid American Beer Drinker, English IPAs tend not to be among my favorite of beers. I've just become accustomed to the brilliance of their American cousins, and my palate is attuned to the beautiful allure of hops, hops, hops. Which isn't to say that I'm a complete lover of hop-bombs -- far from it, for I love a nice balance of malt and hop to form a complete whole. But by American standards most English IPAs are really just Pale Ales, which fits into a whole other category altogether....

So when I bought this bottle on our trip to the South this summer, it was really more for completeness' sake than out of a genuine desire to try the beer. "Hey, look," I said to myself, "a beer that I haven't tried that I can't get in Michigan. Let's get a bottle so I can try it." But just one bottle, you know, no need to buy more when my budget could easily cover an extra bottle or two of Stone or some other beer.

Drinking this one, I'm thinking that was a mistake. Meantime IPA is an amazing beer, with a near-perfect malt/hop balance. Grapefruit sweetness dominates the malt, with a crisp Kent Goldings hoppiness on the finish. I can't find any reference to it on the bottle or the brewery's website, but I swear I get faint but persistent notes of oakiness in the finish, enough to give a nice tannin complexity, but nowhere near overpowering of the bitter finish. Even as I get near the bottom of the bottle, the foam leaves significant and pleasing lacing on the inside of my pint glass. Is this the best EIPA ever? I'll have to wait until that hypothetical trip to the pubs of London to really put that to the test, but for now this is a damn close approximation of what it must be like.

My overall BA rating: 4.5/5

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