Hazy, tropical-flavored New England IPAs continue to spread far beyond the Vermont and Massachusetts breweries that invented the style.
Minute Man IPA, from Charlottesville’s Three Notch’d Brewery, is billed on its label as a New England IPA, so I was surprised when it poured a beautiful burnished orange color with a fluffy white head rather than having the cloudy, almost milkshake-like consistency that has come to define New England IPAs. It’s definitely a juicy ale, pungent with orange and tangerine, complemented by a bit of pine.
The first sip can be compared to an Orange Julius, but there’s more to it than citrus: Tart grapefruit pith and resiny hops crash the party to create a soft bitterness in the finish.
When a brewery calls its beer a New England IPA, it’s inviting comparisons to the Alchemist’s Heady Topper, Tree House’s Julius and any number of five-star beers. Although Minute Man has the sweet fruit flavors, it doesn’t exhibit all the characteristics of the style. But I’d rather not let taxonomy get in the way of enjoyment: No matter how you classify Minute Man, it’s flavorful and easy to drink.
Three Notch’d Minute Man. threenotchdbrewing.com. About $12 per six-pack of 12-ounce cans; $8 per pint in bars.