It is currently April. The weather is certainly warmer than it has been in the recent past, but remains cool. There’s still snow on the ground. Although the calendar says it’s Spring time, lighter beers may not be strictly appropriate. Still, the time for big stouts and bocks is passing. What’s a brewer to do? A couple of New England breweries have been testing more off-the-beaten path styles as of late. Among these is Harpoon with its Long Thaw White IPA.
Long Thaw is basically a somewhat big witbier with IPA style hopping. In fact, the hopping will be very familiar to Harpoon fans. The first scent reminds one a lot of Harpoon’s flagship IPA (or their Rye IPA for that matter). The beer pours a lightly hazy straw color with a big fluffy white head. The head sticks around throughout the drinking and leaves nice lacing down the glass. The hops carry the trademark Harpoon notes of pine and grapefruit. As the beer warms, the hops give off slight lemon and grassy notes, but never become overly bitter or astringent. The hops are perfectly balanced by the malt body. The wheat gives sweet bready and cracker-like flavors. With time, cider tartness becomes present along with a little bit of spice. The yeast gives the beer a nutty finish.
The Long Thaw isn’t really a light guzzler or a heavy one-and-done beer. It sits nicely in between, with some bold flavors well balanced. That makes it pretty well suited to the weird liminal period that is New England Spring.