Friday, July 27, 2012

Variations on a Theme: An IPA Beerposium at Copper Canyon

Written by  Patti Smith
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Variations on a Theme: An IPA Beerposium at Copper Canyon

When I first became interested in craft beer, I immediately drifted towards hoppybeers. Then I realized that everyone liked hoppy beers and me being me, well, that justwouldn’t do. So, I started shying away from IPAs and Imperial IPAs and RyePAs (exceptRed’s Rye) and instead drinking browns and porters and stouts and fruit ales and everything in between.
But every now and again I need to be reminded that just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s bad. Thanks to Beer Todd and his Beerposium on IPAs, I gotto revisit some old favorites and try some new ones. Here are my top 5 picks, in noparticular order!,

Kuhnhenn’s Fluffer:
The Kuhnhenn dudes (Eric Jr. and Eric Sr.) stopped by! How awesome is that?! And Iasked Eric Jr. and yes this was named for what you think it was named for; specificallywith the idea that this beer is a nice, er, “warm up” for a bigger and more intense beer.The beer had has a nice citrus finish (insert porn joke here) with a very light mouthfeel(id). Weighing in at 4.7% a.b.v. does make it conducive for a heavier beer later on, afteryou’ve got your mojo going (id).

Copper Canyon’s India Pale Lager:
I found this beer to be a little sweet, in a verygood way. I normally don’t do well with sweetness in beer, but this was a charming taste.Noble hops added some spice to it and it was clean and crisp just as a good lager shouldbe. This came out of the stash, so I don’t know if you can get this at the brewpub or not(sorry).

New Holland’s White Hatter:
Recently Boyfriend Ken and I had a housewarming party,the theme of which was Heaven & Hell. We had tequila shots, lemon drops and darkbeers in the basement and fruity blender drinks & summery beers in our kitchen. One ofmy genius friends brought along a bottle of White Hatter for upstairs and Black Hatter fordownstairs. The bad news was that my friends drink faster than I do and the White Hatterwas gone by the time I wandered in to find some. Luckily, this beer made an appearanceat this tasting and I got to try some. Made with orange peel and coriander, this beer had alight citrusy taste and pleasant finish. This beer was a nice cross between a white ale andan IPA and extremely refreshing.

Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest:
This beer is made with fresh hops thatare, Beer Todd said, picked on the farm and shipped overnight to the brewery. When Ifirst heard this, I worried that the hops would be overwhelming; I am happy to say thatthey are not. The beer has a nice grassy character to it, but does not hit you over the headwith it. Likewise, the hops are definitely present but not so as to distract from the beer’soverall taste and enjoyment.

Kuhnhenn’s DRIPA (double rice IPA):
This beer won a gold medal at the World BeerCup and well it should. This beer is also a reminder that rice in a beer is not necessarily a bad thing. By using adjuncts of corn and rice, the macrobreweries have given us a negative impression of this friendly grain; however, after drinking this beer, I think you will find that rice can be used in a positive way. In this case, it lends to the crisp finish of this beer. Leading up to that stellar finish is a whole lot of hops that shine through without a lot of malty sweetness. This is a beer for hopheads, but also for those like Boyfriend Ken who is not at all a fan of the humulus lupulus. (And I should add that the Kuhnhenn family is adorable!)

Beerposiums are held at Copper Canyon on the first Saturday of the month. They startat 5pm and cost $20. The topics are usually announced a week or so in advance, so keepyour eye, er, mouth open (final porn joke goes here).

Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Patti “TeacherPatti” Smith lives in Ann Arbor with Boyfriend Ken, her dog Buddy and her stepcats Ali and Cyrus. She is a special education teacher by day, local history buff and brew drinker by night (see the hybrid history/beer blog at She also loves watching most Detroit sports on TV, boxing, brewing beer, storytelling, board games and recently wrote a middle grade/YA book that she hopes to convince a publisher to publish! Meantime, she is working on a book about the history of downtown Ann Arbor for Arcadia publishers. Her favorite beer styles include Russian Imperial Stout, pumpkin beers, Kolschs and most things with peppers in them.