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Leatherlips IPA

by: BeerAdvocate on 02-07-2007
There are so many American IPAs in the market, and outside of trustworthy standards like Harpoon IPA and Sierra Nevada, few stand out. Those that do tend to be hot-hop-bomb Double IPAs whose sole intention is to destroy your palate and a few million brain cells.

However, back in early 2004, Dann Paquette, former head brewer of The Tap brewpub (at Haverhill Brewery), created something truly awesome: Leatherlips IPA, a highly drinkable IPA with a moderate alcohol content (5 percent ABV) and a tremendous amount of hop character.

Paquette eventually moved on to brew in England, but thankfully, Steve Bernard stepped in as head brewer and continued brewing our beloved Leatherlips. Bernard took things to the next level when Haverhill Brewery added a bottling line and distribution to their business; and soon after, he began bottling this hopped-up brew.

The Taste
Leatherlips IPA (bottled) from The Tap / Haverhill BreweryOut of the 12-ounce brown bottle, Leatherlips pours a deep and vibrant golden color that offers up a beautiful clarity—prompting us to leave the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. A good two fingers of head pillow up from a hard pour. Soon after, the scent of hops permeates the nostrils. An old-school aroma of high alpha hops reveals this as an IPA before the first sip: pungent, citric and floral all over the place. Hints of lightly toasted grain in the nose as well. Its smooth mouthfeel and moderate body earn drinkability points. Mild biscuity malt, fruitiness and some yeast up front. This all gets wiped away by a wall of hops—first the sting of bitterness and then a long-lingering herbal and citric finish.

Final Thoughts
Loaded with Centennial, Nugget and Chinook hops, Leatherlips IPA is without a doubt a hophead’s fix, certainly one of those beers we’ll frequently return to. Pair this with spicy food—the more heat the better. A bowl of chili is the obvious choice, but a hot pot of green curry and scallops over jasmine rice is even better.

Leatherlips IPA is available now in the Boston area for around $8 per six-pack, and it’s always on tap or available to-go by the growler at The Tap. (By the way, the commuter rail to Haverhill drops you off literally across the street from the place.) And if you’re lucky, you might even find Leatherlips on cask—like we did at Deep Ellum (477 Cambridge St., Allston).

For more info: tapbrewpub.com

Respect Beer.

[ Update: BeerAdvocate has learned that as of April 1, 2007, Steve Bernard is moving on. The Tap is currently looking for a new head brewer. ]
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