The Thirsty Beagle: You, too, can convert your wife into an IPA drinker

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You, too, can convert your wife into an IPA drinker

Like most self-respecting, normal and totally well-adjusted people, I love IPAs.

After all, what beer style is better at showcasing creativity and flair than the IPA? I know that malt and yeast, and even water, all play a role in the taste of beer. But for my money, nothing gives a beer that certain je ne sais quoi like the hops.

There are so many hops, and adding them to the beer in different combinations, at different times in the brewing process, and in different amounts can yield a billion taste profiles.

So of course, what better beer than the IPA to really drive home the uniqueness of craft beer?

Given my choice, I would buy all the IPAs and brew all the IPAs when I'm making my own beer. Except for one little wrinkle. My wife, the lovely Mrs. Beagle, didn't like IPAs and their intriguing bitterness.

So when I was at the store picking up beverages for the weekend, or at the homebrew shop deciding what ingredients to scoop up, many times I found myself leaning away from IPAs.

Until recently. Two key developments have swung Mrs. Beagle to the hop side of the force.

It started innocently enough with a batch of pale ale homebrew I made and a four-pack of Elk Valley Pale Ale. The Mrs. was swayed by the pleasant citrusy dry hops in the beers, and it led her to wonder if maybe she had been missing out by not having more pale ales. She challenged me to join her on a pale ale exploration journey -- a challenge I gladly accepted, because, pale ales, right?

I sensed this as my opportunity to turn her. The lupulin door had been cracked, we just needed to push it open all the way. I knew I had to turn to a weapon I once had decried -- the session IPA.

A couple years ago I wrote an unflattering blog post about session IPAs. The point, to sum up, was "why waste my time with a junior version of the IPA." After all, I argued, bitterness is what makes an IPA an IPA, so what good is an IPA that strips out the bitterness to clear the way for a lower alcohol content?

Admittedly, I had not had enough good session IPAs at that point. Now, I'm a session IPA convert. I won't sidebar too long on that point, other than to say that I've really come to enjoy and appreciate session IPAs.

And so I started sharing all the session IPAs I could find with my wife: All Day, Pop-Up, Goose Island, Spare Rib.

One night at Oak & Ore, I knew I had succeeded in my quest. I was sipping Anthem's IPA and offered Mrs. Beagle a taste. She liked it. That, I said, is a real-deal, full-fledged IPA. The other night, we split a COOP F5. She enjoyed it. This was big.

Needless to say, this is an exciting time for me. I like IPAs, Mrs. Beagle like IPAs. We all like IPAs! You, too, can get your significant other on board. Just remember to make it a slow progression. Be deliberate, choose the right beers. Rely on the proven trajectory of pale ales and session IPAs.

May the hops be with you.

(Sorry, been watching a lot of Star Wars lately.)

Pints and Pins

-In a much-anticipated move, The Patriarch Craft Beer House & Lawn will hold its grand opening today starting at 3 p.m. Reviews from their soft launch over the weekend have been positive, so be sure to swing by if you're in the Edmond area.

-Oklahoma City Craft Beer Week is off to a fine start. On Sunday, I attended the Red Earth Brewers' Oklahoma Brewers Former at DC on Film Row. I moderated a panel discussion with brewmasters Tony Tielli of Roughtail and Patrick Lively of Anthem, and that was a great discussion. The dialogue was recorded by Beer is OK -- you should check them out when they post the podcast.

-So what's coming up today for OKC Craft Beer Week? Glad you asked:
Wedge Local Beer Party @ The Wedge Deep Deuce - 7 p.m.
Left Hand Brewing Barrel Aged Wake Up Dead tapping @ TapWerks Ale House - 6 p.m.
Mustang Brewing Co. Brandy's Imperial Sunday tapping @ TapWerks Ale House - 8 p.m.
Marshall Brewing Tap Invasion @ Oak & Ore
Anthem Meet the Brewer @ Republic Gastropub - 5 p.m.
COOP Raspberry Saison Pint Night @ Pub W-Memorial Road

-Tickets for the crown jewel of OKC Craft Beer Week -- the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival -- are nearly sold out. You can grab yours right here.

-The new BJCP guidelines have been released.

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