I remember the first IPA I ever drank. I was 21-years-old, it was fall in New England and a Lucky Kat IPA from Magic Hat Brewery was exactly what the season called for. It tasted exactly like one imagines an IPA should–lots of hops. To be honest, I hated it.
The newly released Perfect Strangers IPA No. 1–blossoming from the minds of the beverage director for local restaurants Oddfellows and Linda’s Tavern, Myles Burroughs and Rhein Haus bar manager, Ryan Minsch–takes the drinker on a unique journey from start to finish.
It’s said that we eat with our eyes first; I think it is safe to say the same for drinking. No. 1 came out with a short head in a cold glass and begging for me to drink it. I was more than happy to oblige its request. Upon first tasting the brew, I found myself asking, “Where’s the hops?” With subtle spice notes and an acidic apple aftertaste, the flavors left me wondering why this carried an IPA nametag.
“For IPA No. 1, they wanted to use rye and wheat, not just barley, plus German hops alongside Northwest Cascades, for a spicier, grassy aroma,” wrote Seattle Met. “Finally, Granny Smith apples for acid, all designed to invoke fall, and stray from the more familiar Northwest IPA profiles.”
While the grassy aroma and spicy flavor were welcome, I was expecting a much hoppier flavor from this IPA. The pour was perfect, having a light foamy head at the top that gave me a pleasant bitter start to my drink. I couldn’t see through the body of the brew, which is a good indication for an IPA. It carried the subtle tartness of the Granny Smith apples, which remind me of fall more than pumpkin spice ever could; however, the temperature of the beer was a little too warm for my taste. It felt about 60 degrees, which is fine for the darker beers that are normally served at Rhein Haus, but the lighter IPAs should be enjoyed at a cool 40-50 degrees.
Perfect Stranger No. 1 IPA is exactly what you wouldn’t expect from an IPA, but is a welcome addition to the taps at Rhein Haus. A sweet and spicy brew reminding us of fall nights past, the beer is now available at Rhein Haus’ Seattle location, Linda’s, Smith and Tallulah’s while supplies last. While I enjoyed the flavor of this beer, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting from an IPA and the flavor notes were too subtle to enjoy fully. The 21-year-old me, with his distaste for hops and burly flavor, may have enjoyed it more. 3/5 stars.
Jarrod can be reached at [email protected]