The perfect India Pale Ale is a sunny summer afternoon in a pint. When you pour your IPA into a glass the colors should range on a spectrum from pale golden to absolutely no darker than copper. The general effect should be a bright-looking beer, perhaps with a modest haze from dry hopping.
Carbonation levels are medium in the perfect IPA and there should be about an inch of hop oil generated meringue-like head floating on top. The smells that waft up to your nose are distinctly American hop varieties like Chinook, Simcoe and Columbus. These make up a complex hops profile of resinous evergreen, dank tropical fruit, citrus rinds and fresh cut flowers. Malt sweetness is there, too, but only in a supporting role, and never competing with the hops. The alcohol note is mild to medium. In general, the beer is clean and dry, with a lingering bitterness and a moderate mineral profile from the water used in the brewing process. By the time your glass is empty, you’ll see it’s ringed with lacing—the lingering evidence of each sunny sip taken.
Brett Thomas is the lead brewer at Silver Moon Brewing Company where he works his ass off making beer for lovely people of Bend. His friends refer to him as hop-crazy.