I’m an IPA guy. In other words, a hophead. So I like to think I know a little bit about this sort of beer. I’ve certainly had plenty of them. I love trying new ones and old favorites from all parts of the country. But they say that “there’s no place like home” and Barley Island’s Barfly IPA, brewed right here in central Indiana, has become a home, of sorts, for me.
Barfly is a straight on, classic American India Pale Ale (IPA). And like any good American IPA the citrus notes are there in abundance, but they don’t knock you over. That coupled with a 6.5% abv make this an IPA to enjoy pint after pint. There’s actually a nice balance here as the malt component is complex enough to carry the hop flavors with ease.
Barfly is the first beer that I ever tasted that makes use of the Summit hop. Summit hops are similar to Amarillo or Cascade hops with an orange/grapefruit type flavor but I think the citrus is more pleasantly subtle than most of the Amarillo based IPA’s I’ve had. Summit was first harvested in 2005 but has become a fairly popular hop with brewers and drinkers in a short period of time. An interesting note, Summit is a “dwarf” hop, which means that it grows to low for the normal harvesting machines to pick, so it has to be picked by hand. It’s also pretty high in alpha acids (16-18%), the stuff that makes hops so tasty and bitter.
Barley Island labels are certainly distinct. They do a great job of bringing to mind an old fashioned friendly bar or tavern.
Most of them were designed by Randy Mosher who is not only a terrific artist, but a very noted beer author and expert. His Radical Brewing website covers his work both artistic and literary. One of my favorite Randy Mosher books, “Tasting Beer,” is always a source of food and beer pairings for me.
I still enjoy an occasional visit to Barley Island original brewery in Noblesville, Indiana. It’s right off the square downtown so it’s easy to find, but in 2009 they opened a pub in the Broad Ripple part of Indianapolis, which makes it even easier for me to get there.