Long Hammer IPA - Red Hook Brewing

We’ve all seen this one.  Usually in a grocery store, with two others from the same brewery.  Well, it was National IPA day, “The Bitterest Day of the Year” (that one’s all me), so I picked it up.  I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?  I crack it open and a meteor ends all life on earth?  Yes, I suppose that is the worst, but very/mostly improbable.  I mean, who would know?  It could happen right… NOW.

Ok, we’re still here.  Well, that’s good enough reason in my book to have a little celebratory drink.  Oh and look, Longhammer IPA, don’t mind if I already did.  I picked up this one on sale, in honor of this national day of hops.  It mostly comes in bottles, but mine came in one of those horrible plastic six pack things.  You know the ones; turtles won’t get caught in them, but you have to practically kick and punch your beer out of it?  You know, I always used to cut up my old style six pack holders and now I have to deal with this?  I demand one guilt-free turtle death by my hands.  You know where to reach me, Mother nature.
ANYWAY.  Longhammer IPA, as described by Red Hook’s website, promises that “the medium body, crisp finish, and moderate Alcohol and IBU levels makes this one of America’s most drinkable and best-selling IPAs.”  Regardless, I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt this time.  It falls into a category of beers I’ve never had too much of a problem with, and that is what I call “Grocery Store Premium”.  These are the beers that they have at nearly any grocery store in the country.  The highest of the low-denominator.  Pyramid is another one if these I see often, and Fat Tire has quickly became one as well.  Hey, as long as they are funding some of their cooler, more risky stuff, more power to them.
I ripped this one out of the holder and poured it into my Batman pint glass, and was interested at the slightly opaque light orange color.  Along with the very fluffy white head, it is a pretty picture for an IPA.  The aroma however, is pretty weak.  No strong, pine scented hit to the proboscis, just a little waft of orange citrus and malt.  The taste was slightly more reassuring, but not thrilling.  Sure, there were hops, if you want to get technical about it.  A tad bit resinous, a bit floral, very much more citrus than anything else.  Plenty of sweet malt too.  Almost too much, if one was really looking for that “IPA experience”.  In fact, there was really more in common with just a regular ol’ pale ale than an IPA.
Bare bones, this is an ‘alright’ beer.  There is a good balance, if not a bit homogeneous.  Being rather thin and high on carbonation doesn’t help either.  There are a ton of beers I’d rather buy a six pack of, just in general.  Judging this as an IPA is even less forgiving.  Hardly any bitterness, too much malt for the style.  At least the hop profile was defined enough.  And again, just too too watery.  I guess I’ll have to wait next year to get a good IPA for IPA-mass, because ol’ Saint Hoppy didn’t visit my house this year.