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The IPAs of New England

New England IPAs are big beers, there is a definitive haze to the beer, and brewers embrace the big, bold hops flavors rather than the bitterness of the India pale ales of the past.

Norman Miller Mar 23, 2017 - 8 min read

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Tod Mott brewed the first IPA in New England in 1993 for the Harpoon Brewery (Boston, Massachusetts, and Windsor, Vermont). It was clear and balanced, and—for its time—it was an aggressively hopped beer.

Harpoon IPA is still a popular beer, but IPAs in New England have changed significantly in the twenty-plus years since Mott first poured the hops into the boil. “I think people’s palates have changed,” says Mott, the veteran brewer who now owns and operates Tributary Brewing Company in Kittery, Maine. “Nowadays, people expect it to be hops-forward and not too bitter. Compared to today, the Harpoon IPA is like a pale ale.”

India pale ales and their bigger brothers rule supreme in world of New England breweries, with breweries such as The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Vermont; Trillium Brewing Company and Tree House Brewing Company in Massachusetts; and Bissell Brothers in Maine being responsible for some of the most sought-after beers in the country.

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