Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Jopen Northsea IPA

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1) You know how some people go all-out when it comes to wrapping presents? They get the fancy, shiny paper and fold it so perfectly that the edges look sharp enough to cut you. Then they top it with a deftly tied bow and other assorted ribbon, with a card featuring their beautiful writing. Sad thing is, at least some of the time, the present inside is actually a bit of a letdown – because it can’t live up to the beauty of the wrapping.

2) Well, this ridiculously tortured intro is to state that opposite happens with Jopen’s Northsea IPA. The label is ordinary – looks like it’s printed on cheap paper where the glue seems to be seeping through. The colours look really cheesy too. In fact the bottle looked so dodgy I very nearly didn’t buy it (the photo accompanying this post makes the label look better than it really is. Honest)

3) But I did. And I’m glad, because this is a cracking IPA. There’s a lovely resiny aroma, with a bit of grapefruit and those scents follow through on the palate, along with a slight thickness when it comes to mouthfeel and an underlying bitterness.

4) Like me, you’ve probably never heard of Jopen before. Well, they’re a brewery based in The Netherlands, where they manufacture cheap paper labels. According to that label this is ‘‘a revival of the historic Dutch Duraebel Scheepsbier’’. Despite what you’re thinking, that has nothing to do with sheep. It translates into ‘‘long-life ship’s beer’’, which seems to be a way the Dutch refer to IPA and the ‘‘hop it to buggery and send it to India’’ story around that style’s origins.

5) I found this beer at a Windang bottle shop, which is more than a half-hour drive from my place. I only bought one bottle, because of that dodgy label. But once I tried it, I just had to make the trip back to stock up on some more. Jeez, it’s good.

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