3.5AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Usually, when I find an India Pale Ale to be less than worthy it’s because it has a taste I don’t like. However, with Red Hook Long Hammer IPA I found it to be only average because the taste was so generic. Usually, beers of this sort have something about them that jumps out, but this was marginal across the board.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
This beer had a very average style pour and its body was much more in the tradition of a mass-market lager than an IPA. The complexion was a bright shade of maize, with plenty of notable carbonation. The head was small, off-white and fizzy which evaporated fairly quickly and left only trace amounts of lacing on the glass. The aroma was fairly generic for an IPA with a slightly floral scent, but only slightly.
To date, I’ve sampled a variety of IPA-style beers and whether they were good or bad all of them had a distinctiveness. However, in the case of Red Hook Long Hammer I can honestly say there was nothing about this beer that really stood out in my mind. It was as generic as an IPA can be – which is actually a very difficult achievement. In fact, it almost deserves accolades in that respect.
However, a generic beer is still a generic beer, no matter what the style. This brew does have a slight hop bite to it, but otherwise it’s quite plain. No citrus taste, no unique ingredients. To its credit it doesn’t taste like saltwater or syrup, but aside from having a taste that’s only a little hoppier than a generic lager, there isn’t a lot to like.
Bitter beers with a smooth finish never cease to amaze me. While I wouldn’t say Red Hook Long Hammer IPA is bursting with flavor or even bitterness by any means, I still find it a bit ironic it’s such a smooth, easy-to-drink beer. It has a fairly soft to medium mouthfeel and it won’t overwhelm your palate.
I’ve always appreciated a beer that has “big numbers” but never drinks like such. The stats for Red Hook IPA are quite high at 6.5% ABV and 186 calories per serving. This is definitely not a beer for a casual, uncommitted drinker. However, at only 35 IBUs it doesn’t have the strong hop foundation I’d prefer in an IPA. Overall, it’s quite hefty, but to me its taste doesn’t support its weight.
I actually don’t have a lot of negative things to say about Red Hook Long Hammer IPA, but I don’t have much praise for it, either. A generic IPA is always better than a generic lager, and a lightweight is more likely to find this beer stronger and tastier than a connoisseur would. Still, I would have preferred something a little more unique, but as it stands this is still a pretty decent brew.