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CBOTB: Hipster IPA from Iron Hill Brewing

When Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant opened their first location in 1996 in Newark, Delaware, it was the realization of a dream for Kevin Finn, Mark Edelson and Kevin Davies.  Kevin, Mark and Kevin shared a vision of creating a restaurant where the menu would be built on recipes made from scratch and the beer would be crafted at a brewhouse on site.  Three years later, in 1999, Kevin Finn, Mark Edelson and Kevin Davies opened their second Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant with this very same concept: scratch recipes and craft beer, both made on site.  That location was in West Chester, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb and that’s when I got to know the three of them.  I was working at a radio station in Philly then and the station became an integral part of their success as marketing partners as they established their West Chester location and then subsequent locations in the Philly area. 

Iron Hill’s success is easy to understand once you visit one of their brewery/restaurants—they make amazing beer and outstanding food at every location.  I’ve visited six of their locations, several of them many times, and each experience has been exceptional.  Great atmosphere, excellent service, incredible food and delicious beer.  My only disappointment had been that the only way you could drink their beer was either while dining or by taking beer-to-go from their brewery/restaurants. 

But that has just changed.  Last year, Iron Hill began canning their beers and have been slowly expanding their distribution area.  I found this out through pure chance recently on a drive home after visiting my middle son and his family in Ocean City.  My wife and I stopped into a liquor store in Delaware and Carol, my wife, picked up a 4-pack of Iron Hill beer, saying “Look at this cool label!  And it’s a beer from Iron Hill.  You’ve always liked their beer and I know you love IPA’s.”  And she was right on all counts.  So we picked up a 4-pack of 16 ounce cans of Iron Hill’s Hipster IPA and it is spectacular!

I used a 14 ounce tecu glass for the first beer and a 16 ounce snifter for the second one.  I poured each beer high and hard, starting a few inches off the rim and raising the can to a height of about a foot from the glass.  With both glasses, the pour created a thick, white head that held for almost five minutes.  The hue to Hipster IPA is deep yellow—almost orange—and the beer is very hazy and nearly opaque.  The nose reveals a clear citrus scent, with notes of orange, lime and pineapple.  The mouthfeel is very soft with low bitterness.  As I drank the beer, it revealed the same orange, lime and pineapple qualities that were present in the aroma but also had hints of guava.  This is an exceptionally good IPA—easily one of the top five that I’ve ever had.  I only wish it would be a year-round release.

If you find yourself in Delaware this weekend, or the near future, look for Hipster IPA… and buy every can you find!  It’s that good!  

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: thecraftbeerguy@thebayonline.com

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