Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saranac Legacy IPA (review)

Sorry, wrong beer.
Yesterday after the Prowl the Sproul 10k (RACE REPORT) I had a decent beer with a German / Belgian sounding name that I can’t quite remember. I guess that put me in a mood for beer, as I picked up a six-pack of Saranac Legacy IPA this afternoon. Being a Pennsylvanian living on the New York boarder making an alcohol purchase typically means heading across the state line. Pennsylvania grocery stores and mini-marts cannot carry beer, which means a visit to a local tavern or bulk beverage distributor. Luckily, being on the state line, just south of the Finger Lakes, also means close proximity to various breweries, wineries and even distilleries in both states.

Saranac Legacy IPA is made by the Matt Brewing Company of Utica New York. Matt was founded in 1853, and like most old American brewers has German roots. It is the second largest family owned brewery in the USA, the 11th largest ‘craft brewery’ and the 18th biggest brewery overall in the country, though I suppose being bigger can be at disadvantage when it comes to beer lover credibility.

According to the label on the bottle Saranac’s Legacy IPA is the company founder‘s “century-old IPA recipe,” (probably a lie, everybody says that) and “uses lighter malts which allow the hop flavor to shine through.” If hop flavor and light malts are Matt Brewery’s intent, the Legacy IPA should be considered a success. Other ales I’ve tasted, which shall remain nameless, seem to try be too many things at one time.

In my disclaimer (HERE) I said I’d try not to resort to snob-speak, so forgive me when I say that the first thing you’ll notice as this beer passes your lips is the bitterness of the hops. Hops are bitter (man-up and admit its an acquired taste in most beers), like biting into an orange peel, but there is also the slightest hint of sweetness like a grapefruit, or a mouthful of barely ripe grapes as it reaches the back of your throat.

But it also tastes “light” and refreshing like a modern Pilsner . Snobs, give into your commercial side and admit that on a hot day you  too enjoy the light, crisp refreshing taste of a thirst quenching, mass-market beer.

To these lips, Saranac’s Legacy IPA straddles the boarder between two worlds. It is a great drink with multiple flavors, neither lowbrow or propped up by absurd overly pretentious claims. Refreshing without being bland. You won’t have to pretend to like it while your friends drink brews roughly the color of baby shit.

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