Craft Beer Preview: Schlafly Northeast IPA

Craft Beer Preview: Schlafly Northeast IPA
Schafly's version of a Northeastern IPA. Photo by Mark McDermott

So I've finished off a couple of reports I needed to get done… but not my taxes, that's still looming large. And I've recovered from a cold that kept me from breaking into my untried brews. Now it's time to catch up with some of the beer that have been sent to me for my comment (that's a disclosure right there).

Schlafly's Northeast India Pale Ale is the first beer in the 2018’s "Hop Allocation Series," a line of different hop-forward beers throughout the year. Northeast IPA is a style that's become popular lately, sort of a reaction to citrusy, bitter West Coast IPA's. The Northeast version is notably hazy, being unfiltered, and has a fruitier, less bitter note. There can also be a softer mouthfeel from the use of oats and wheat, and lower sulfites in East Coast water. The main inspiration is likely Heady Topper by The Alchemist of Vermont. I haven't had the Heady Topper, as it's quite a "whale" in the beer geek world, but I've likely had a couple of examples before they decided to name this as a separate sub-style.

That's as maybe, since Schlafly only refers to it as "a fresh, bold, unfiltered beer. Its bouquet of hops forges a true, welcoming flavor to the beer’s fruity aroma and juicy finish. (8.0%, 35 IBUs)."

My flash photo doesn't quite capture the color of this beer, but it is almost opaque and hazy. There are no "floaties" visible, just a kind of orange juice body. The smell is pretty fruity, but also carries some West Coast pine hop as well.

The taste is citrusy, no doubt. It also still has a lot of bitterness for what looks like a medium-alpha beer. I could call it "juicy," I guess, but it's not quite as I've been led to believe. I guess the only thing for it is to drink more northeastern IPAs to get a handle on the style. Though with its 8% abv, it seems like a milder little brother to Dogfish Head's 90-Minute IPA.

Something with this much strength and flavor I can't think of an adequate food pairing. My fallback recommendation would be to match with spicy foods, grilled meats, and creamy cheeses.

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    Writer, trivia maven, fan of many things. I thought to learn all there is to know about beer as a way to stay interested in learning. It is my pleasure to bring Chicago's craft beer scene to you.

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