IPA or not IPA?

New York & Hawaii

13 to 29 April 2010

A book (“Hops and Glory – One man’s search for the beer that built the British Empire” by Pete Brown) I read recently extolled the quality of India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed in America. Having a holiday ‘over the pond’ seemed a perfect opportunity to see if I could find some.

Needless to say I did no up-front research but on arriving in New York a quick scan of tourist free sheets turned up one micro brewery, Heartland Brewery, with one of their bars not too far from our hotel, at the bottom of the Empire State Building. They do indeed produce an IPA but theirs is Indiana Pale Ale. Nonetheless it’s well worth drinking being dry and hoppy and rather appealing.

On one of our jaunts around Manhattan we came across the Bridge Café. A stone's throw from Brooklyn Bridge, it has recently been confirmed as the oldest surviving bar in the city, dating from 1794. As well as many bottles of whiskey and other spirits it sold Harpoon IPA on draught, brewed by Harpoon Brewery. Great atmosphere, great food and great beer, what can be better?

Those were the only IPA’s I managed to find but our hotel did a draft wheat beer, Blue Harbour by Blue Moon Brewing Company. It was really very nice.

Moving on from New York and on arriving in Waikiki, we were met by some friends who had already been there a few days. They took us to the Yard House one of a chain of bars and eateries that, they claim, has the world’s largest selection of draught beers. A quick glance behind the bar showed about 50 taps, including three IPA beers. I had the Big Swell IPA and the Inversion IPA, both of which complemented my burger nicely.

Tripping around the Hawaiian islands produced no more IPA beers but one of the island breweries did a nice line in light golden ales. The Kona Brewing Company’s Big Wave Golden Ale, Fire Rock Pale Ale (both bottled) and Duke’s Blonde Ale (draught) kept me going for the 10 days or so we were there. Finally, we came across a Gordon Biersch brewery restaurant on Honolulu. It’s a company that brews German beers to German standards. Unfortunately I only had time for one drink, Marzen. Apparently Marzen was the beer brewed for the original Munich Oktoberfest and it is now brewed very much to the original recipe.

All in all I had some great beers, perhaps with more research I would have found more but then again, we weren’t there just to sample beers. The only downside was that I missed Farnham for the first time in ages. Buy the way, LA enjoyed the dry white wines as much as I did the beers.

Brewery / URL Beer %
Hartland Brewery Indiana Pale Ale 5.9
Blue Moon Blue Harbour -
Maui Brewing Co. Big Swell IPA 6.2
Deschutes Brewery Inversion IPA 6.8
Kona Brewing Co. Big Wave Golden Ale 5.3
Kona Brewing Co. Fire Rock Pale Ale 5.9
Kona Brewing Co. Duke’s Blonde Ale 5.0
Gordon Biersch Marzen 5.8

Attended by:-