Each night when I decide to have a beer, it's an adventure. Mostly that's because I never know what I'll be drinking. My beer fridge, you see, never has less than 40 different beers in it, so your guess is as good as mine which beer I'll end up with. That little bit of mystery really makes the whole endeavor so much more exciting; what would be the fun in drinking the same beer all the time? One doesn't eat the same food at each meal.Anyway, the latest thing I pulled out of the beer fridge is a bottle of Wachusett IPA. This is brewed by the Wachusett Brewing company of Westminster, Massachusetts, and has long been a staple beer in their line (they've been cranking it out since 1995).
I can remember drinking this one quite frequently when I lived in New England. It has always been a good, dependable example of the style, though it's a bit on the tamer side by American standards. Today, it strikes me about the same: a solid, drinkable brew that doesn't stand out from the pack but is welcome whenever I see it on tap or in the bottle. Quite the compliment indeed to the American craft beer movement that we have so many breweries today producing dependable brews like Wachusett IPA.
I wrote this about it in October, 1998:
Generally, I like to drink a variety of beers in an evening. Occasionally, though, I'll pick up a growler of something and drink until it's empty. Tonight I brought home a jug of Wachusett India Pale Ale from Westminster, Massachusetts, and I must say that this is a beer I could easily get used to drinking in large quantities. This nectar is cloudy orange in color with very good carbonation. A mountain of foam forms as I pour into my glass, and gradually settles to a rocky cauliflower consistency. The nose is big and hoppy, and entices you into the first sip. The first thing you notice there is the incredible initial balance of this beer, replete with biscuity pale malt character that makes an excellent backdrop for the floral, piny cascade aromatics. Gradually, the peppery hop finish takes hold of your tongue and lingers there with a pleasant, impressive bitterness. A perfect beer for late night sipping, or as an accompaniment to a spicy meal. Well done!
The brewery gives little information about Wachusett IPA on their website, other than to say it's a year round selection, has 5.6% ABV and 50 IBUs, and is "dry hopped with Cascade for an awesome floral nose".
Wachusett IPA pours to a bright golden color with a light creamy head formation and a gently herbal (but not really awesome) flowery hop nose. A thick layer of Brussels lace clings to the side of my glass and follows the liquid all the way down to the bottom. The body has a touch of chewy caramel malt, though not quite as much as I'm looking for in an American-style IPA. I do get a bit of bright, candyish crystal malt flavor as well, and a spicy, herbal grassy hoppiness pokes its head out midway through. A long, lingering bitterness punctuates and lingers nicely on the palate in the finish, too.
I find this more of an English-styled IPA than an American one, albeit a hoppy one. It's a decent, moderately hopped IPA well-suited for sipping, although to my taste it's not especially assertive. It's a bit under strength in alcohol, too, for an IPA. Still, it's a flavorful, tasty little brew that pairs nicely with spicy dishes like Chicken Curry or Kung Pao Beef .
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.