"A beacon of non-conformity in a increasingly monotone corporate desert...

Nothing says authentic like an IPA that has journeyed the open seas.  The India Pale Ale came about in an attempt to make a Pale Ale that could brave the shipping voyage overseas with the East India Company (you know, those guys from Pirates of the Caribbean).

According to the BrewDog blog, James Watt, upon reading a historical “Brewer’s Handbook”, got it into his head to follow the book’s recipe and age the beer on his trawler.  The brew spent 2 months on the ship in oak barrels, surviving North Atlantic storms and 60 foot waves.  As they always do, BrewDog again pushes the slow-growing boundaries of the newly rebirthed craft beer world by creating this authentic and tasty treat.

At 8.5% ABV, the Atlantic Ale pours golden amber and full of sediment with a one finger ecru head that laces nicely to the glass.  It’s quite a pretty pour for something that’s been beaten and tossed into the ocean a couple times (and rightfully so- anything that’s in a bottle with a label this pretty has a rep to keep up!)

Hand drawn by Scottish Desinger Johanna Basford, the label is meant to show the brew's crazy journey upon the open sea.

The smell is definitely hoppy but light and sweet- a flowery caramel mixed with vanilla biscuits.  The sugariness of the aroma is reminiscent of candy corn- or perhaps better yet- cream soda.  Given the rising temperatures that we are experiencing this week (horray Spring!) the beer’s scent succeeded in hurtling me forward into thoughts of summer nights full of grassy cookouts complete with toasty burned sugar marshmellows.

Atlantic sips dry but thick; hosting lots of vanilla with a bitter twist.  The two months of oak barrel aging shows through the deep oaky base of the palate.  The ale is a distinct cousin of cream soda (no surprise here!) in taste but does not forget its hoppy routes with an everpresent grassiness.  The complexity of this brew is fierce, but not overwhelming.  The bitter hops offset the sweetness just enough to create a delightful tug-of-war with one’s tastebuds.

“We wanted to take the style back to its roots and we have created the first genuine, commercially available IPA for 2 centuries. Going beyond the realms of what would normally be deemed possible in order to deliver is what we’re all about at Brew Dog. We’re constantly pushing ourselves to come up with audacious, unusual and cool concepts and Atlantic IPA is definitely the most ambitious brew project we’ve accomplished to date.” -James Watt (www.brewdog.com)

While slightly pricey (at approximately $16 for a 12oz bottle), the Atlantic IPA Ale is a special brew that is worth a taste.  As is the BrewDog motto-

We are proud to be an intrepid David in a desperate ocean of insipid Goliaths.

We are proud to be an alternative.”

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