I imagine if the American craft beer scene continues the way it has in popularity, our friends across the water will get jealous in that way only the British can.  The jealousy of a slightly less sophisticated, but younger and much more successful sibling.  Of course, the tide will pull in the other direction some times, where wer emulate ol’ Queen’s England.  Heck, the whole idea of battered and fried food is a very British thing, and we certainly picked it up with gusto ourselves.  So, as with beer, especially the ever-popular IPA style, we can expect the jibes to come in a few years or so.  “Oi, yew wont any beer in yer ‘oppy water?” they’ll say from beneath their top hats, casually crushing a polio-stricken orphan’s orbital socket with a sterling silver cane (I assume nothing has changed in England since Dickens?).  Well nuts to those guys!  How can we not be ourselves?  How can we not take a beer known to be loaded up on hops and LOAD THE HECK OUT OF THEM?  Cranking things up to 11 is our way, the American way.  England invented fish and chips, but do you think they’d ever deep fry grape Kool-Aid and make bank on it?  Not a chance.

Now, to COMPLETELY contradict the spirit of the last paragraph, let me just be the very first ever to say, “Hey America, maybe we should tone it back a little?”  Now now, before the efigies go up, I’m not saying we should become Canada or anyone else that puts royalty on their money.  I’m just saying that maybe we should be more like a classy caricature of ourselves like the New York Times’ Al Hirschfeld, rather than a twisted, nightmareish version like Hunter S. Thompson’s Ralph Steadman (a Brit!).  Don’t take this to mean that the constant jealous ridicule from the Old Country has gotten to Uncle Sam’s favorite Nephew, because it hasn’t.  All I’m saying is that sometimes they might have a point, and sometimes their way could also have merit.
One such example of us toning it down a bit to take a lesson from the UK is the Pedernales Brewing Co. “Classic IPA”.  It’s interesting and unusual to see an IPA advertise itself as “Classic” or “English Style”, as it does here.  For those in the know it’ll be a welcome indicator of hoppy strength, but it may be bad if falled on deaf ears.  If you’re used to the tongue wrinkling IPAs common of the West Coast USA, English Style IPAs will feel like a not-even-pale-ale.  Frequenters of my column will recall my much-documented distain for the whole “IBUs for the sake of IBUs” trend, so an English Style IPA is right up my alley.  I had this one from a bottle, quite fresh from the brewery by all sources.  It poured a nice, clear copper with a fairly retained amount of head.  Very picturesque in an Imperial Pint.  It had a distinct, but not aggressive nose to it, some herbal and grassy “Cascade-ish” hops and a tinge of lemony tang.  You don’t get much of the malt in the nose, but it is balanced almost scientifically well in the taste.  It is slightly sweet from the barley, and has a good toasty crystal malt flavor.  Mouthfeel is very thin and crisp, almost like a lager feel but without any odd yeast to change the clarity or flavor.  Doubly refreshing, not just in taste and palate-slaking ability, but also refreshing to see the moniker IPA shown not as a challenge for the weak-tongued, but simply as an indicator for a hoppy, enjoyable beer.