Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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IPA - English
Ranked #135
Ranked #44,133
3.64 | pDev: 13.19%
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States
Notes: We started brewing this beer as a summer seasonal in 1993. There were some great IPAs out in the Pacific Northwest, but no local IPAs on the east coast. We wanted to have a local IPA, so we brewed one. People absolutely loved it, and so did we. So we made it a year-round beer, and it’s now our bestselling beer and our flagship.

Since its introduction, Harpoon IPA has remained unique in its ability to balance hop bitterness with a strong malt backbone. Dry-hopped with Cascade hops, it has a floral hop aroma and a finish that is bitter (it is an IPA after all!) without being harsh or astringent. Combined with a malty sweetness and the fruity esters of our proprietary yeast, those hops create a beer that is wonderfully hoppy but clean and refreshing enough to enjoy a few of - and we hope you do.

42 IBU
Reviews: 1,310 | Ratings: 4,339 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Specialmick
Specialmick from Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look...darker brown copper with a white head and ample carbonation . The way IPAs used to look
Smell...faint smell of hops as the usual like many of the old school favorites.
Taste...Exquisite apricot, malt bitter with a very full body for the ABV. Back to the taste, apricot leaving to a finish dryness
Feel...A n ample carbonation that makes the consistency a little sticky and resinous. A great quality to this beer.
Overall...My belief is slanted such as this beer was a staple for a long time. This was my requested wedding beer that had to be there!! Anyways this beer was a very good one and still everyone should try. This beer was definitely a trail blazer out east.

Nov 22, 2021
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.39/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The claim is "New England's First IPA" and that may be. Most beer historians credit Ballantine as being the first to brew one in the U.S., but that was in New York. Enough history, let's empty a twelve ounce can into a clear Imperial pint glass and review it. First, it's a lovely bright copper-amber with a sparse, but enduring white head. There's plenty of malt to be had by the nose. The taste is sharply hoppy, with the malt failing to keep up. The hops are boldly bitter, earthy, yet finishing dryly. This is a good bitterly hopped AIPA, lacking only a little malty counterbalance. It may not offer enough complexity for some, but this is a spot on traditional IPA.

Jul 24, 2021
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papposilenus from New Hampshire

3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From a 19.2oz can, dated 04/05/21. Served in a willi becher.

Pours a crystal clear copper-gold with two fingers of dense, foam insulation-like head. Retention is excellent, leaving a thick, creamy cap and a tattered curtain of lacing. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for it to look this good.

Nose is sharp, grainy and vaguely cider-like. Crackers and apple skins.

Taste is dry like soda crackers, crisp and biting. Apple skin, orange oil, turpentine.

Feel is crisp and clean, drying, medium bodied with brisk carbonation.

There was a time I drank quite a lot of this and I guess I wasn’t as stupid as I remember myself being because this is mighty tasty. The fact that it’s only a month old may have something to do with it. At any rate, the can label promises ‘hoppy, balanced, crisp’ and fucked if it isn’t all of those things.

(Replaces a 3.48 rating-without-review dated 05/17/15).

May 10, 2021
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TheGiant from Rhode Island

2.89/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall this beer is just a snooze fest. Its a cheap beer and i get that, but this is not a good beer. There is nothing overly offensive about this beer but it just taste like water. Not what i expected for and i feel at this price, there are better options that will make you much more happy.

Apr 25, 2021
Photo of GarrettB
GarrettB from Colorado

3.19/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Sometimes you just need a break from the hazy IPAs that occupy every store and every corner of the refrigerator. And sometimes you don’t even want an IPA. This Pale Ale takes me back to some of my first craft beers, before IBUs started hitting sky high. And because of that it is like so many other pale ales, clear and clean, with a nice squeeze of hops and a refreshing palate that would be very difficult to replicate in a higher gravity style.

Jun 15, 2020
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SouthPhillyJimmie from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really nice, balanced IPA. It has a very clear, rich, honey color. The taste is a little bitter with bright citrus notes. It's pretty easy drinking, full feeling, and goes well with rich or spicy foods.

May 03, 2020
Photo of kflorence
kflorence from Texas

3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a can.

Pours a golden, copper in color with a thin layer of head. Not much lacing as you drink. Carbonation looks spot on. Aroma is very floral with some herbal spiciness, bubblegum and a toasty, biscuity malt backbone. Taste follows the nose surprisingly well. Spicy, earthy, floral hops with some lemon, grapefruit and pine balanced out by a toasty, biscuit malt backbone. Mouthfeel is medium with subdued but lively carbonation and a little bit of chewiness. Pretty drinkable. Overall a solid offering that is balanced and offers some complexity, but it's a bit too spicy/piney for my preference. Cheers!

Mar 08, 2020
Photo of Charliethebrit
Charliethebrit from Massachusetts

3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12 oz bottle, bottled on date: 01/06/2020. Nice golden color with a dissipating white head
Malty on the nose, like toasted nuts and slight floral hops and hint of pine
Taste is hop forward, citrus to the back and hint of floral, distinct malt, but on the bready, biscuity side
Feel is medium bodied, but a bit too over carbonated
The first time I tasted this ale was at the end of 1997 and it was on draught at Christopher's in Cambridge and it was fantastic. It has lost that wonderful floral, malt smooth balance it had back then. But still a pretty good ale for the money (usually the lower priced option of the choices)
Edit: I have since read some other reviews and one or two have dissed the beer according to where they bought it on draught. Beware. There is a big variation in how this is kept in bars and restaurants. I recommend trying it local to Harpoon, Boston and in a place that looks after their beers, such as the brewery itself, of course

Mar 01, 2020
Photo of 1009
1009 from Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A classic on the Boston beer circuit since the mid 80’s and one that I consistently find myself ordering at restaurants and bars. A very reliably west cost style IPA that that tantalizes your tastebuds with crisped malty goodness. For those of us at 1009, this is the standard for the style that all others are compared to. For the love of beer!

Feb 20, 2020
Photo of Kipstone

3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sharp, hoppy and bright - wonderful strength (caught me out first time I drank it).Alays consistent and on draft was a perfect beer. Loved this beer when living in Boston MA a few years ago - converted me to Cask IPA forever. It was briefly available through Adnams here in the UK but that was short lived. Is it available at all anywhere in the UK? USA IPa's are huge now over here and this would be a huge success if it was widely available.

Jan 15, 2020
Photo of Claude-Irishman
Claude-Irishman from New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent honey color with a decent foamy white head. Smell malty bread (pumpernickel) subtle hints of fresh hops. Taste is very pleasant,nice bitter hop bite with a suitable malt backbone. Feels crisp,bitter,ample carbonation. Overall a fine example of an English IPA. I have noticed this style gets little respect with scores,I think American fruit hop bombs make this seem "mild" and people don't rate according to the style. Why are Pilsners low and stouts High? The finest examples of Pilsners usually never hit 90, yet a mediocre stout will get a 92.

Jan 13, 2020
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a foggy dark orange with a finger of off-white foam. Head retention is good. Aroma is resin, pine, citrus and herbal hops with a dab of biscuity, bready, earthy malts behind. Flavor profile is citrus, herbal, resiny, piney hops with a little sweetness at the back. Biscuity, bready and earthy malts firm up the finish just a touch. There is a touch of bready yeast the back as well, adding a little softness and stickiness. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a very thin crispness delivered via a thin, razor-sharp crispness right at the front. Consistency is medium. Overall, crispness is great, along with the delicate balancing act between the hops and malts. Despite being an IPA, and having forward hops, it isn't abrasive or in your face.

Served in a 10oz stemmed glass from a 12oz can.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of petec9686
petec9686 from Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A sentimental favorite for me. Harpoon was my gateway drug into the IPA world.

I think it is perfect for that roll. It has a nice hoppy bite, but not enough to scare away someone unfamiliar with IPAs.

And I can find 12 packs on sale for 13-14 bucks. One of the better beer deals out there.

Oct 26, 2019
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(12 oz bottle, bottled 05/03/19; purchased cold single... poured into Spiegelau IPA glass)

L: crystal-clear, amber liquid; tall, rocky, billowy-bouncy build of crystalline, off-white foam; broad expanses of lace

S: grapefruit rind, tangerine oil, vaguely ginger-y spice, orange jelly candy, bit of floral musk, hint of alcohol... kind of a bygone American-made, British-influenced IPA character - the lack of personality in its esters

T: similar citrus character as the aromas, with a rather bready malt swell in the finish which carries long into the aftertaste, along with a spicy, potpourri, herbal hop hum... lovely musky, earthy element to the lingering hop oils; very little residual apparent malt sweetness

F: soft carbonation; light, foamy texture to its body; sedate lingering warmth... between its blanket softness and cozy glow, very nice

O: briefly a sought-after favorite of mine back at least a dozen years ago, in a day when I can actually remember IPAs not being that popular... maybe reminiscing a bit, but it's still a decent beer, and not much different from what I recall... I hope to revisit it off and on going forward, but can I get a fresh bottle down here? (1552)

Oct 08, 2019
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps from Oregon

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Thanks, Denny.

I clear copper with a dense white head with good retention and lacing this looks good. The nose is a blend of delicately floral hops, a blend of citrus and some pine, along with a mildly sweet malt character. Bitterness of burnt sugar is present. The palate opens light and restrained, with a mild hop bitterness complemented by a grainy, burnt sugar bitterness. A mildly green, woodsy, leafy hop character is present as well. The mid palate takes on a mild mineral note before the finish which is a blend of mild bitterness and citrus. Decent stuff.

Sep 22, 2019
Photo of Bsimpson91
Bsimpson91 from Georgia

4.96/5  rDev +36.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Lovely IPA with balance and character.
Start things off with looks. This IPA has a rich bright clear appearance with beautiful golden amber color, the head is minimal with not much lacing. Now for Smell. The Aroma is malty with hints of tropical fruit. You can smell the malt profoundly. Moving on the the most important is Taste. At first sip, Very distinctive and aromatic qualities come through. Herbal, Floral notes hit your pallet right off the bat. the middle is smoothly malty and the end is a slow swell of hops. Over the time drinking, You think this is not such a bitter beer. You will be pleasantly surprised to find out that those hops where waiting for the right moment to sneak up on you. Bam! those hops get you in the end. Next up is feel. This IPA doesn't seem to be creamy as I like, but rather medium which lends to its drinkability. Carbonation is kinda low, tad watery but still plenty of flavor. Overall, A dang Good beer!

Sep 21, 2019
Photo of Mugman8
Mugman8 from New York

3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks great on the pour....cooper tint with great big creamy head and plenty of lacing. Nice flowery aroma, with balance between slight hoppy bitterness and a malty crisp finish. Got this one as part of a Harpoon Fall Variety 12 pack....great purchase, all the beers are worthwhile!

Sep 15, 2019
Photo of ArchimedesSox
ArchimedesSox from Georgia

4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear, golden, copper color, 1 inch white head, nice lacing
S: Floral hops, caramel
T: Sweet caramel up front, immediatly followed by the floral hops, nice hop aftertaste
M: Medium
O: A really nicely balanced IPA. Lots of nose, and full of flavor, really quality beer.

Jul 27, 2019
Photo of Underclaw
Underclaw from Massachusetts

3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Have been drinking this one for years and remains my standard drinkable/keep in the fridge ongoing beer. Feel bad for Harpoon because they have had a great beer for years but with the craft beer revolution are perceived as old hat. Still a great beer in bottle or on tap (great choice at DC National Airport Legal Seafoods). A longtime favorite.

May 04, 2019
Photo of ben741
ben741 from Canada (ON)

2.63/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Not liking this at all. Drinking draft at Courtyard at Logan. Maybe I’ll have to try at another time but this is as bad as a macro beer with a handful of hops thrown in.

Mar 21, 2019
Photo of jadpsu
jadpsu from Georgia

3.36/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

LOOK: Pours a crystal clear gold color with an all white head that fades fairly quickly.
AROMA: Another IPA that I find leads with some mango aroma. Get some malt esters, yeast.
TASTE: Here I pick up some (never said this before) banana and also get some caramel.
It has an odd aftertaste that I don't care for.

Feb 15, 2019
Photo of Brian_L-2056
Brian_L-2056 from West Virginia

4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light orange color with a thin bright white head and slight carbonation. Smell is definately hoppy but floral too. Taste is very mild for the style with a mellow slight bitter finish. The feel is almost citrusy at times but then the hips kick in, overall an IPA that I can enjoy for once without all the bitterness.

Nov 23, 2018
Photo of Amendm
Amendm from Rhode Island

3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12-oz. bottle (Enjoy By 01/15/19) took an easy pour for a finger sized frothy rich off white head with good retention and scant spotty lacing. Lager like bubbles rise in support.
Clear amber-gold appears yellow-gold in front of light.
The smell features floral hops, caramel malt and esters.
The taste begins with malt, hops and yeast and is evenly semi-dry throughout with citrus fruit and sweet malt almost making the middle semi-sweet. The finish is drawn out yet does not become dry and has a mineral twinge. Floral/bitter hops return for an aftertaste.
Medium-light body, built up by malt and abundant carbonation.
True to style (West coast), smooth easy drink with the right bitterness level. Alcohol is well hidden. Great balance of malt/hops, sweet/bitter.

Nov 18, 2018
Photo of mushroomcloud
mushroomcloud from Texas

3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle with a best by 11-15-18 date
1/2" white head retains at 1/4" for a long period. Amber/gold - deep color, good looking IPA. Foamy lace.
Very floral hops, maybe a hint of lime and sweet candy malt aroma underneath.
More of a zesty lime up front, melon, some flavors that lean floral and then the finish is taken over by the lightly caramel-y malt bill.
Medium body, south of full for an IPA. Soft mouthfeel, low to mid carbonation. Light bitterness.
Not a "Session IPA" but well balanced and one I could maybe session.

Oct 07, 2018
Photo of PMakowski
PMakowski from New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 Oz Bottle poured into glass
Look - mostly clear, golden colored with a thick foam head that fades fairly slow. Good glass lacing.
Smell - bursting with floral hop aroma. Some orange, honeydew melon and strawberry as well.
Taste - Not as hoppy as i thought it would be. Strong malt character and crisp, refreshing. The bitterness is so low that it borders on a pale ale. I do like the hop flavor - it's floral and fruity without being too much grapefruit or pine like most IPA's.

Overall, it's not a stunningly great IPA but it has a unique flavor and it's quite a good beer. I have been very impressed with Harpoon in general, have yet to have a beer that disappointed me. Grade is an A-

Sep 14, 2018
IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 4339 ratings