It Don't Matter If Your Black Or White

Brewery and Country of Origin: Harpoon Brewery of 306 Northern Ave # 2, Boston, MA, 02210, USA

Date Reviewed: 3-13-12 *Third Sampling

The India Pale Ale is one of the most popular beer styles in the world. Originally developed for shippers of the East India Company, the IPA is an exemplary point in beer history when necessity created something truly special. These were beers that were (and still are today) heavily hopped so that they wouldn't spoil (hops are natural preservatives), not to mention these guys had scurvy to deal with. So when the IPA was introduced, it became an instant hit, and from that moment on, it would remain as one of the most enjoyed beer styles on Earth. But as we've said time and time again, things change. The IPA is still brewed as it was centuries ago in hundreds of breweries, but there are some brewers who don't always maintain the status quo. Enter the Harpoon Brewery's 100 Barrel Series. These are specialty, limited-release, moderate to high strength beers that aim to deliver something special; something even better than their own perennial favorites can offer (such as their Munich Dark or Flagship IPA). We've tried many of these beers before, and when we found out that a new one had been released, we got our glasses ready. These beers are known for great runs of successful experimentation, flavor infusions never experienced before, and finishes better than Alex Ovechkin on a breakaway... well, you get the idea. Whether you're at the pub or the packie, be sure to give the 100 Barrel Series offering, if you're privileged enough to come across one. And when we found out that the newest Harpoon experiment was on tap at the Battery Park Pub in Boston, MA, we had to give it a whirl. The waitress told us it was an IPA, but when we received our beverages, we weren't expecting what had been given to us...
Date Sampled: 2-18-12 At: Battery Park Pub, Financial District, Boston, MA, USA
Beer Style: Dark India Pale Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 7.00%
Serving Type: Nitro Keg, 12 oz Snifter Glass
Rating: 4.07


By far and away the most surprising aspect of this beer; a porter at first glance, this IPA is brewed with Midnight Wheat malt that, because this isn't a heavily roasted malt, delivers a stout like very dark brown/red appearance without the toasty notes that the Irish disguise might have you believe. There is a thin foam head that somewhat lingers through the entire beer.


The beer gives off aromas typical to most IPAs, though with less bitter notes. This beer had prominent fruity aromas with slight hints of darker malt. Though the presence of hops is well perceived here, this beer doesn't shout bitterness as most (and definitely not like Harpoon's flagship beer).


This is a medium bodied beer with a lingering aftertaste. There are moderate levels of carbonation, and the brew finishes very smooth. This beer is best consumed cold.


Roasted notes are somewhat present, but as this is an IPA, the Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum, Cascade, and Citra hops definitely keep your tastebuds assured that this is in fact a pale ale. There are some fruity notes towards the finish and aftertaste, but again, this lingers with a more hoppy, bitter sensation. There is a subtle earthiness about this beer as well.

Our Take

Though this isn't the highest rated 100 Barrel Series we've done recently, this is certainly a must try for nearly every beer fanatic (unless you really hate hoppy beers). This beer has an IBU of 67, which makes it less bitter than most IPAs of this strength and consistency. Though this beer is great in a glass (stange) from the 22 oz bottle, we highly recommend you make a small trip to find this somewhere on tap, because like all beers, it is totally worth it. Just note that you won't be served a full pint. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this beer was its appearance. Beer tasting does in fact incorporate appearance, but in the end, a beer's taste should be judged independently of its color or clarity. Expecting something other than an IPA, definitely helped when we got what we should have been expecting all along - a genuinely rewarding India Pale Ale. Overall, this was a very refreshing experience and we would without a second of hesitation, get this beer again (in fact, we had gotten it on tap at two different places after that). And if for some unfortunate reason you can't get your hands on one of these, don't worry. Harpoon is already working on their next example of magic: Session 41 - Catamount Maple Wheat. And yes, expect a full review of that, too.