I tried to get to the new Dock Street today, after reading how apparently everyone was there on Monday when I was slaving away writing about 3,800 words for Malt Advocate and Portfolio. (Hey, when you click over to Uncle Jack's site, he's got some good scoopage (and bald speculation) on the Yards situation and the tentative Victory operation in Easton.) I packed the kids in the new Rabbit (Cathy's commuter car, and a slick little 5-speed -- good to be driving a manual again; she had the Passat today to fill up on cheap NJ diesel) and we drove down to Philly, only to find a handwritten sign on the door: "Wed-Fri opening at 4:00. Thanks!" Yeah, you're welcome.
I backtracked a bit and headed out Lancaster Ave. to Bryn Mawr, headed for a comics shop the kids like (okay, I bought three more collected Queen & Country, a brilliant bit of espionage story-telling), but we were all getting hungry. I tried to stop at a local pizza place (under construction), a local pub (out of business), and a deli (didn't do sandwiches between 2 and 5!), but finally wound up at a Bertucci's. All was not chain-lost, though: Bertucci's carries Harpoon IPA.
I hadn't had a 'Poon IPA in years. Bring a pint! I was just reading Eric Asimov's piece on Belgian pale ales in the Times (registration required) this morning: "Not content with a sturdy ale awash in refreshing bitterness, many brewers are making their I.P.A.’s stronger and stronger, with a hop bitterness so aggressive it will knock anybody out of her hammock." I thought of that quote as I took a pull on the 'Poon: this was an IPA from back in the day, drinkable but zesty. Harpoon IPA has a solid malt base and a firm hop flavor and bitterness. It was smooth, tasty, and wonderfully drinkable. Lucky Boston. If I hadn't been driving with the kids in the new car, I'd have had another.
Is it an IPA? Who watches the watchmen, who makes the call? The guys who have been guilty of stuffing in the hops with the safety valve tied down? Hell with that. I don't know why we should let a bunch of guys with scar tissue all over their taste buds tell us what we're drinking.