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Spring IPAs


India pale ales, those hopped-up brews first destined for the Jewel in the British crown, are the perfect thing for Boise's roller coaster, spring weather ride. One day, there's frost on the window and 25-mph winds, then less than a week later, the mercury pushes past 90. Some would call it eclectic; I think it's just damned annoying. Oh well, break out an oh-so-versatile IPA--something with the stuffing to hold up to cold and breezy afternoons, but with the citrus-laced element that refreshes when things heat up. Here are three large format (22-ounce) bottles of brew: all recent arrivals, all sure to please.

Anderson Valley Brewing 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA

The folks at Anderson Valley chose to celebrate 20 years in the business by packing 20 separate additions of hops into an ale. You don't really get a sense of all those hops on the nose, which is dominated by spicy bread dough, caramel and pine-accented citrus. Creamy malt hits first on the palate with a grape-laden fruit profile. Those hops come in through the side door, adding a nice bitterness and drying things up on the finish. This one would work best as a companion to one of the cooler spring evenings.

Deschutes Brewery Red Chair IPA

Pours a translucent copper with a thick, micro-fine head that is remarkably persistent. It has a nice hop presence up front that continues on through the bright citrus finish. Despite that, this is not an uber bitter brew. It offers a silky caramel malt profile balance and is made in a structured, crowd-pleasing style that has something for everyone and is oh-so-easy to enjoy. This one will definitely find a home in my fridge.

Lagunitas 2009 Correction Ale

Not labeled as an IPA, the Correction Ale still has the hop profile to fit the category. The comments on the label alone are worth the price of admission. Leave it to Lagunitas to celebrate the recession (sort of) with irreverent questions like "I mean really--who would ever have given their money to a guy with a name like 'Made-off?'" This IPA opens with orange and grapefruit aromas backed by kisses of pine and lavender and is smooth but with ample bittering hops throughout, building in strength on the finish. In the mouth, bright citrus and tropical fruit flavors play against subtle sweet malt and grain. Utterly refreshing. :