Style: American India Pale Lager
OG: 15.5 Plato
“This lager harmoniously combines lager yeast fermentation and west coast IPA hops. Our India style Pale Lager is like a traditional IPA but with a twist – it’s fermented cold and aged for extended periods. A blend of classic American hops creates a huge tropical fruit and citrusy hop aroma. A dry finish accentuates the pleasant bitterness and hop profile. Hoponius Union uses locally grown dehulled spelt from MA.”
This is my first offering from Jack’s Abby, a local brewery in Framingham, MA that specializes in a harmonious union of traditional German lager brewing and experimental American Craft Beer. I have high hopes for this beer, especially since it is one of the first beers I have seen marketed as an India Pale Lager, and because it only cost me less than $3 for a pint!
The bottle is funky shape, similar to the Maine Beer Company bottles, which I dig. I did originally think it was less than a pint due to its look, but the more I look at its shape the more I like it. I also am digging the Jack’s Abby labels. The layout is a little cluttered, but I love the how much of a description of the beer and the brewery can be found on the sides of the bottle. The Jack’s Abby logo is really neat and classy yet earthy in feel with leaves, and hops, and cups surrounding the brewery’s name which uses a tremendous flowing script. The font for the beer’s name isn’t quite as awesome, even though I think they are pretty much the same font, but it still looks pretty awesome. The orange bar displaying the beer style is a little ugly and out of place, and I would definitely scrap that, but the grassy hop thing in the main body of the label is cool, and I love the shield with the “H” on it. Green, gray, with hints of yellow and brown is also a great color scheme for this beer. Is this bottle worthy of the shelf? Well it is a little too crowded and has some little things that I don’t like, but overall I like what the label is and I like what the bottle is. I’m going to put this one on a shelf.
The beer pours a beautiful and lagery yellow with slight amber and golding, while appearing very clean in the body with a huge rocky white head that appears creamy and soft on top and leaves sticky patches of splattering lacing on the sides of the glass. Carbonation is steady but not torrential, and this beer looks nice and clean with the just the slightest hint of haze appearing in the beer. On the nose, this beer is everything you would want it to be; big and resiny, with a smell that just begs for the nose to be shoved in it. Sticky pine melds with faint lemon citrus, mango, passion fruit, big grassy notes, and a faint light hint of sweet biscuit bread. The beer has a great smell, and is probably the best lager I have ever smelled. On the taste, the beer is superb. It begins surprisingly malty with grassy and cereal notes before opening into biscuity malts and then big bitter hits and snuggles into the cavities of your mouth. Grass is huge in the hop flavor, providing perfect balance to creamy malts which linger in the sides of your mouth, even as the bitter bites. Pine and citrus also are present in the hops and provide lovely flavors reminiscent of a West Coast IPA. The mouthfeel is clean and slightly crisp with just the right amount of bitters to kiss the tongue even as the beer takes on a creamy feel as it caresses your mouth. The mouth is left dry and bitter on the roof of the mouth and on the tongue while slight trickles of saliva run on along the sides of the mouth. Overall, this beer is superb. A new style perfectly created. I have been hearing so many calls for an India Pale Lager from so many people in the craft beer world that I just figured it wasn’t doable, and yet here Hoponius Union sits as just that. IPA lovers should try this beer, lager lovers should try this beer, and everyone should try this beer! It is superb, and represents the perfect union and balance between hops, malts, and the clean-beer-feel that lager yeast creates. Just like this country is the perfect union of all that other stuff! Try this beer!