Hop, Skip, And A Jump

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

Date Reviewed: 4-09-13

Modeled after their flagship IPA, this Harpoon Brewery small offering features new Centennial hops (their flagship uses Cascade Hops) conditioned and served unfiltered from a cask. What makes this unique is that the introduction of new hops brings an entirely new character to both the aroma and the bitterness/sweetness of the flavor. In fact, we found this particular cask ale to be noticeably sweeter than its mainstream counterpart. Like the normal IPA, this is a dry-hopped beer. Allow us to be nerdy for a bit. Dry hopping is the optional step in the brewing process where aromatic (and sometimes traditional) hops are added to the wort after boiling and cooling (via a heat exchanger), and during fermentation. This extra measure is sometimes taken by brewers, because it dramatically adds to hoppy characteristics of the resulting beer, especially in terms of enhancing a hoppy, citrusy, slightly fruity, and sinus clearing aroma. The end flavor is also much more hoppy and bitter. A dry hopped beer has also gone through the usual process of boiling with regular hops. The result of dry hopping varies depending on the hops used, the other ingredients in the wort, and the resulting beer style. Of course, as this is a cask conditioned beer, there are other flavors that are going to mature and partly overcome the hops in terms of prominence, as hoppy properties of beer wear off as time progresses. Don't get us wrong though. This is still a very hoppy beer which, with the added element of cask conditioning, isn't exactly your normal run of the mill IPA.
Date Sampled: 4-01-13 At: The Olde Magouns Saloon, 518 Medford St, Somerville, MA 02145, USA
Beer Style: American India Pale Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 5.90%
Serving Type: Cask Keg, .5 L Stange Glass
Rating: 3.88


Harpoon's flaghsip's cousin is pours somewhat choppy with an average amount of carbonation action, producing a full, thick, inch tall foam head with an average level of retention, and a medium high density. This beer exhibits full lacing on the glass. This is unfiltered with a somewhat bright amber golden glow in the light. This is caused by very fine leftover sediment.


This beer's fairly strong aroma features expected dry hoppy notes with a large amount of floral and citrusy promience. As this is a cask conditioned beer, there is a good amount of earthy and slightly nutty notes mixed in. This beer has a somewhat alcoholic tinge in the aroma, and very little pale malt to balance. There is no sweet or fruity notes detectable.


This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate weight, an average level of carbonation, and a medium viscosity. This beer has a lingering finish with a slightly dry quality, as is expected of the style, and this beer is smooth overall with a cool, slightly refreshing feel. The apparent sediment in the beer does not impact the feel, as it's very fine.


As you would imagine, this beer's flavor is mostly bitter with a dry hopped character, somewhat balanced with a sweet, slightly malty undertone. This beer also has a nice earthy set of notes as well as a good amount of citrus from the Centennial hops. This beer also finishes bitter with a solid, lingering aftertaste accompanied by a noticeable dryness.

Our Take

Sadly, it's not too often that you'll come across this beer, because it is definitely a very good one. Only available at a few select local pubs around Eastern Massachusetts and obviously served only in casks, this IPA offers the unique experience of Harpoon's dry-hopped flagship brew, which has been aged a bit in an old fashioned cask. Of course, it's also served at a traditional cellar temp, which most Americans will find to be a bit too "warm" for their tastes. Aside from the ususal hoppy and bitter overtones that you'd expect from this style of beer, the secondary conditioning adds a few interesting, unique characteristics which you won't find in a normal Harpoon offering. For one, this beer has a noticeable sweet side that you don't get from the normal IPA. This beer's alcohol content is relatively unchanged from the flagship, but it seems as though the alcohol flavor has come out a bit more pronounced in this variant. As is with many cask beers, this ale has a detectable earthy secondary note, as well as a slightly nutty aroma. Overall, this is a quirky beer developed from a prolific mainstay in the US craft beer world. We were happy with the results, and if you're lucky enough to find a pub in Boston which offers it, we know you'll be happy, too.