Thursday, October 14, 2010
I think you would be hard pressed to find a beer lover from Washington State that would argue that Boundary Bay’s Inside Passage Ale (a.k.a. India Pale Ale) does not belong on this list. In today’s beer culture West Coasters have been screaming for more and more hops, and breweries are obliging by continually upping the hop ante. I like a good hoppy IPA as much as the next guy (probably more), but not at the expense of texture and balance. Anyone can load a beer with copious amounts of hops. The art of the IPA is to make it hop forward, not too resinous, with a finish that lingers a little, but doesn’t wear out its welcome. Most importantly-and most frequntly ignored-a good IPA should have a fresh grain maltiness to help temper the hop bitterness. Boundary Bay has accomplished all of these things with their IPA.
The Inside Passage Ale has a bright grapefruity, pine forest hop flavor from local hops, a slight butterscotchy maltiness, and a bold texture that fills your palate. An odd part of Boundary Bay’s appeal is its inconsistency. Not that sometimes it is better than others inconisistent; it just varies a little from batch to batch. Sometimes the burnt orange color is a slightly different shade, sometimes the grapfruit is more pronounced, or it’s a little cloudier: little subltle differences to pique the regular drinkers interest.
Over the last fifteen years Boundary Bay’s Pub and Brewery have become a fixture in the Bellingham community, and is a must stop if you are in the area. Their beers can be found all over Washington, and if it is not pouring at your local pub, start bugging the owner to get it.