THE Iconic IPA in the Northeast

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by StevenJPatrick, May 19, 2022.

  1. podart

    podart Initiate (86) Jan 22, 2010 Massachusetts

    I don't have much new to add since my first instinct at reading the subject was Heady or Harpoon. I clicked in thinking I might offer a contrary opinion with Harpoon, haha.

    When I started going to bars 20 odd years ago you could reliably order "IPA" at just about every bar in New England and you'd be served a Harpoon. Many assumed it was the name Harpoon gave it, not that it was a style. Pretty iconic.

    But you can't deny the current state of IPA: Pricy, boozy, trendy 4 packs loaded with late addition hops, hazy and not too bitter (and tasty). Heady is definitely the defining beer of this moment. If it's here to stay, gotta go with Heady. Who knows?

    So, nothing new, but I decided to post my opinion anyway, instead of posting my other instinct which was just "Vitamin Sea Flying Seahorses" :wink:
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  2. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (207) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    sorry, you are correct. I stood in line for Kate the Great as well. I should have stayed BA hypervigilant instead and asked "what's the first IPA people lined up for?"
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  3. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (207) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    before that, it was available in 750ml wine/champagne bottles with a cork and crown and xeroxed labels. I drank the shit out of that by the case. It was a transformational beer at the time, for sure.
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  4. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (9,007) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    In the BeerAdvocate magazine interview from 2013, Tod Mott did indicate that the original inspiration for Harpoon IPA was Ballatine IPA.
  5. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,834) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    That quote from Mott is a nice testimony for Harpoon IPA being a decent choice for the thread question.
  6. jbertsch

    jbertsch Poo-Bah (1,621) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Probably a reflection of my age but any mention of a TH beer feels funny to me. Isnt julius just like 10 years old? "Long track record" sounds like a timespan beyond 10 years. And for everyone to have an opinion about the beer- as th OP insinuates- I'd take to mean it's easily available, which TH beers are not.

    Harder to argue on heady, harpoon, 60 min...availability being the only issue with heady.
  7. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,997) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Correlation isn't causation, but I have access to FAR more styles locally (especially lagers, and high quality too), than before Heady was popular.

    I don't think New England IPAs will necessarily "go anywhere", but they could decrease in popularity at some point.

    My trip to the West Coast was a bit of an eye opener because the style wasn't as ubiquitous as it is over here.

    Gotcha. Which comment specifically? I went back but couldn't quite figure it out.

    Personally I'd say the former. There's a lot of beers that are still here after all this time.

    True, but how impactful was that decade? The rise of breweries increased exponentially in the early teens. How does 2011 - now compare to 1993 - 2003?

    Now, one could argue, "Well, Heady was around from 2003 - 2011..."

    But "the flood" and opening of the cannery was in 2011. Of course one could play devil's advocate and say Tree House opened in 2011 as well...

    Nope! It seems like it's the most popular style, but I'm definitely not sure about that.

    Yes, but as I stated above in this post, Hopdevil and Harpoon IPA were around for a long time before the first New England IPA.

    The Alchemist cannery opened in 2011. Tree House was 2011. Trillium was 2013. To a lesser degree Hill Farmstead was open in 2010, and they were some of the early brewers of New England IPAs. In fact I think Sean may have said Heady was an influence.

    I think the fact that I of course know the iconic Pliny, and have no idea what Foggy Window is makes the case for me.
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  8. Xerlic

    Xerlic Zealot (556) Aug 26, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    This thread in a nutshell:

    200X BA join date: Harpoon IPA.

    201X BA join date: Heady Topper.
  9. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Aspirant (289) Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)

    Last San Diego beer before leaving in February this year.

    "Ahh, give me your favorite San Diego IPA."

    He brings me a beer (Second Chance IPA), bright as a German Pilsner. Beautiful hop-forward beer, bitter and dry on the back end. Loved it!
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  10. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,997) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    2004 Heady vote here!
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  11. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (2,063) Apr 16, 2015 New York
    Society Trader
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  12. Jbrews

    Jbrews Disciple (369) Aug 6, 2013 New Hampshire

    Makes me miss the days of just grabbing a glass bottle six’r you’ve never had and trying it. They were all new and so different.

    Now I can walk past shelves in cans and skip most of the 4 packs.

    Also crazy is there is a segment of the population now who might not have ever had a beer in a brown 12 oz bottle
  13. rolltide8425

    rolltide8425 Meyvn (1,321) Feb 18, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Harpoon's the OG but Heady was the beginning of New England IPAs becoming what they are today.
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  14. bring

    bring Initiate (87) Aug 17, 2005 Greenland

    Doesn’t work for me.
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  15. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Aspirant (294) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    I still remember my step-father buying fancy Harpoon IPA in the mid1990s and enjoying them while I toiled away mowing grass with a manual bladed lawn mower. I did enjoy the beers I liberated from him though, so my vote goes to Harpoon. I don't drink much of it today, but much like a Sam Adams lager, if it is fresh, it is awesome.
  16. Rug

    Rug Poo-Bah (2,234) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I mostly skimmed this thread but I'm pretty sure nobody has said it yet, King Julius!
  17. Xerlic

    Xerlic Zealot (556) Aug 26, 2016 New York
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    I guess my model needs more work.
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  18. stairway2heavn

    stairway2heavn Initiate (140) Aug 17, 2017 New Jersey

    Nothing is 100 percent. I still think you're essentially right. I didn't even think about harpoon ipa, I'm in my mid 30s. Granted NJ area not NE for the bulk of my craft beer time (other than Maine, but with MBC there that was the "cool" brewery to me). People always remember their first "whale" or really well made beer style X. It's why other half will be making 4th anniversary 10 years from now for their anniversary, even if it barely resembles the original. Nostalgia isn't just for VH1.
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  19. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,997) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I think it works, but just not in terms of "join by date".

    People who got into craft beer before 2000 might lean Harpoon IPA.

    Those who did from 2000-2010 might say Heady.

    I feel like those who got into it 2010 - present would probably say a Tree House beer.
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  20. cid71

    cid71 Initiate (146) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey

    so part of the debate is , is Delaware and thereby 60 minute part of the Northeast. So i googled what the government says, holy crap on a cracker, no wonder we cant get anything right anymore, every government agency has its own definition. So my first reaction was Heady since its probably the most famous IPA there is (Pliny too). But if you need something older than i guess it depends on region definition. Harpoon existed here in NJ but it was 60 minute that was everywhere from an IPA perspective and was my first IPA. But i still say Heady.
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  21. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Aspirant (289) Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)

    I find is incredible that what we've basically decided (at least in New England) is that the answer is either Harpoon IPA or Heady Topper. I'd happily concede either. We're a smart group!

    Given the definition of icon as "a representative symbol being worthy of veneration," I think maybe Heady Topper (not to say Harpoon isn't worth veneration). As the definition of iconic could also mean "a widely recognized and well-established brand name," I'd lean Harpoon (which is also not to say people don't know what Heady Topper is, but I'd argue more know Harpoon from, say, a Red Sox game or Applebee's or the theater).
  22. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,997) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    The only reason I don't like this criteria (how many people know the product) is because one could argue more people know a Lord Hobo IPA today than either Harpoon or Heady.

    For example, given how sales are going, we may not be far off from people associating the Sierra Nevada brand with Hazy Little Thing rather than something like Celebration or Pale Ale.

    Although now I would probably be making an argument for Harpoon IPA, haha.
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  23. Xerlic

    Xerlic Zealot (556) Aug 26, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    This is what I was trying to get at just in a very hyperbolic way. There's probably a correlation between when someone makes a BA account and when they get serious about craft, but it's not 100%.

    To offer a proper answer to the question -

    I got into "craft" beer in the late 2009s and early 2010s via Shock Top and Blue Moon (hence the quotes). From there I got into Belgian style beers. Brewery Ommegang was the first brewery I ever visited in 2013. Back then, locally available IPAs were still very much in the extremely hoppy with high IBU style and I couldn't get into them. I remember buying DFH 120 minute because it was so hyped and being so mad that I spent $7 on 2 bottles because I thought it was undrinkable.

    In 2016 we went to Northern VT and of course visited the Alchemist. Heady was the bridge for me to appreciate hoppy beers. I did the textbook arc of tried heady > stood in line outside Other Half > drove to Tree House and stood in line for 8 cans of beer and a growler > started trading beer via mail > hazy IPAs are too pedestrian, let's drink other shit.

    Nowadays I love a good WC IPA. I recently drank the other 2013 DFH 120 minute that I had in my cellar and thoroughly enjoyed it. Without Heady I don't think I would have gotten to that point, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same for a lot of people.

    To be fair, I've never had Harpoon IPA and I have to pick up a bottle next time I'm in my local shop.
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  24. dynajack1

    dynajack1 Initiate (106) Jul 5, 2012 Massachusetts

    Heady Topper!
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  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,997) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Iconic…granted he’s from VT.

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  26. HopsDubosc

    HopsDubosc Initiate (178) Apr 24, 2015 Vermont

    Not sure where/if this fits but some of the posts had me drifting down memory lane: Catamount IPA felt equally as prevalent as Harpoon when I was first getting into craft back in the 90s and I believe it was brewed first. Also, a shout-out to the now defunct Wolaver's IPA, which was certainly the first 'Organic' beer I saw in the marketplace.
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  27. cdinardo21

    cdinardo21 Initiate (176) Oct 29, 2019 Pennsylvania

    I think it's Julius and Heady (single / double)
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  28. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Crusader (789) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    Sadly, HopDevil is very difficult to find around my neck of the woods at this point. Used to be easy to find relatively fresh. Was obsessed with it and Hop Wallop (and most other Victory beers) for a while about 10-15 years ago. Even made HopDevil Brussels Sprouts from time to time.
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  29. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Aspirant (289) Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)

    Of course that's your contention. You're a first year grad student. You just got finished readin' some Marxian historian -- Pete Garrison probably. You're gonna be convinced of that 'til next month when you get to James Lemon, and then you're gonna be talkin' about how the economies of Virginia and Pennsylvania were entrepreneurial and capitalist way back in 1740. That's gonna last until next year -- you're gonna be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood, talkin' about, you know, the Pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization.
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  30. pbrian

    pbrian Crusader (752) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    #GoodWillHunting What do I win?
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  31. ColdOne

    ColdOne Aspirant (279) Jan 19, 2013 New York

    How do you like those apples?
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  32. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,997) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Sounds like he wins a cider.
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  33. hobbitz

    hobbitz Initiate (138) Jun 17, 2010 Rhode Island

    Harpoon ipa definitely was huge. Also hopdevil. For dipa's heady, Larry, and also Gandhi bot.
  34. Jcorn

    Jcorn Disciple (394) Jun 17, 2015 Massachusetts

    got a decent chuckle out of this
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  35. pbrian

    pbrian Crusader (752) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    Good call on Larry for OG NE DIPA. Unfortunately don't see it around these parts anymore.
  36. purephase

    purephase Initiate (174) Feb 23, 2008 Connecticut

    I think Harpoon is the answer. I'm also not sure I'd still put Heady above Julius, as despite my preference for Heady I think Julius has been the more influential beer and may very well surpass Heady in liftetime sales sooner rather than later. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if something like Sip already has done so given how it's brewed in enormous batches. Be Hoppy, Larry, and Lunch are probably also worth a mention, though I may still be thinking too much in a New England frame rather than a BA Northeast one.
    Rug likes this.
  37. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,997) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I think Julius needs another 5-10 years of relevance to be in the conversation.
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  38. Jbrews

    Jbrews Disciple (369) Aug 6, 2013 New Hampshire

    The Two Iconic Brewers

    Todd Mott
    John Kimmich

    That much I would put money on

    Both created world class and BA rated #1 beers in the world as well as the first beers people lined up for.

    T - Kate the Great
    J - Heady Topper

    Both created amazing beers before their more famous release.

    T - Harpoon IPA
    J - Holy Cow IPA

    I feel this has to be factored into those being the iconic IPA and DIPA. It’s just a perfect story for the iconic duo.
    #118 Jbrews, Jun 6, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2022
  39. hudsonvalleyslim

    hudsonvalleyslim Disciple (366) May 29, 2003 Massachusetts

    You kiddin' me? Wolf's as good a bluesman as any of 'em. What a voice. Thanks!
    Trumpetguy likes this.
  40. celtsfan33

    celtsfan33 Initiate (51) Nov 12, 2019 Massachusetts

    Just wanted to say that the discussion in this thread a while back spurred me on to revisit Harpoon. It was one of those beers that I kind of cut my craft teeth on back in the day, but hadn’t had with any regularity in a number of years. Revisiting it has been enjoyable and delicious. Such a good value too. Picked up a case of bottles recently for $27.99 while having a few buddies over. Hell, I’ve seen EQ 4 packs at that price point. Also, gotta love that you can actually get it by the case as I do not know many craft options available in that format