Sunday, August 25, 2013

Beer Review: Shed Brewery IPA

I was at my local liquor store a couple of weeks ago and saw Shed Brewery's India Pale Ale (IPA), and decided to give it a try.  According to the bottle, Shed was born is Stowe, Vermont, way back in 1965, but these days it's brewed in Middlebury.  I don't remember offhand why I decided that I needed a Vermont IPA, but then again, it's not like a reason is actually needed, right?

Poured the beer out into one of my new glasses, and took a look.  Shed's IPA is a beautiful dark gold, cloudy but not opaque with an initially strong head that fades quickly.  It's an attractive-looking beer that doesn't look at all heavy.

Sniff the beer, and you can smell the hops coming off right away.  There are some subtler flavors there, too.  My wife says she smells apricot; I'll call that a hint of fruitiness and leave it be.  It's definitely a fresh smell, more fruit than pine, and very, very nice.

I finally take a sip, and wow... Strongly hop-forward beer with just a hint of malt to add smoothness and a bit of carbonation to then keep that smoothness in check.  This isn't a beer that wants to be gulped.  It wants your time, and it's gonna make you give it your attention.  Despite the fact that Shed is brewed in Vermont, I think you'd have to call this a decidedly west coast-style beer; the beer itself isn't thick or heavy, but the hops dominate the palate, leaving at best a minor malt aftertaste in the wake of what is a strongly bitter beer with a citrus overlay.  About what you'd expect out of today's craft beer scene.

Shed's IPA isn't a double by any means, but it's definitely on the stiff side of the single-IPA scale.  In that, it's of a piece with its birth place--strongly hopped and manly, ready to stand up for itself during the chill nights of Vermont's autumn and winter.  Bottom line, if you like brawny IPA's, then you'll like this one.  Personally, it suits my palate to a tee.

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