1) Of the Mountain Goat regulars, the IPA was easily my favourite. While everyone else raved about the Summer Ale (a beer whose huge popularity I still don’t understand) I stood by the IPA. Well, in a totally hypocritical beer geek kind of way. You probably know what I mean, it’s where you think beer X is awesome but hardly ever drink it because, well, you’re too busy looking for new stuff. Then you do have a bottle of beer X, and you think ‘‘I should drink this more often’’ and then you don’t do that at all. Jeez, brewers must hate beer geeks sometimes.
2) But the IPA is no more. At least not in the regular range – it might return in a Rare Breed bottle one of these days. It’s been replaced in the stable with a pale ale. I bumped into Goat’s Dave Bonighton at the Craft Beer Awards last month and he explained the reasoning behind the switch. An IPA is a beer best drunk fresh and not left on bottle shop shelves. That wasn’t always happening with this beer. So better to have a beer that might last a bit longer on the shelves and the beer fridges. But he confirmed the IPA will probably get a limited release somewhere along the line.
3) I totally get his logic, and the rational part of me agrees with it. If the IPA is getting degraded from sitting on store shelves while fickle bastards like who say they like the beer walk past and grab something new and shiny, then it makes sense to replace it with something else. I get that. But doesn’t mean I have to like it.
4) However, seeing as how the pale ale was a new beer, it did mean I picked some off the shelf rather than walk past. Reading the label, it mentions it was ‘‘manufactured from local and imported ingredients’’, which is something I’d not seen on other beer labels.
5) The beer has some juicy, piney notes on the nose and there’s a bit of thinness at the front of the palate before the resiny pine characters kick in. It’s not as strong as the IPA, but it’s not supposed to be. There’s also a streak of biscuity malt down the middle of the palate. At least that’s where it seemed to me like it was. I still prefer the IPA, to be honest, but I might need to have a few more of these to work out exactly how I feel about it.