There are a lot of things to like about the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, unique and well balanced beers in a wide variety of styles, cool labels featuring original artwork, and non-traditional seasonal beers to name a few. One thing I’ve always enjoyed is that many of the beers come with stories, some of which you can find on the bottles or on their website (http://www.prettythingsbeertoday.com/wp/). Many of the stories are about the founders of Pretty Things, Dann and Martha, and how their travels have inspired the beers they brew. Trips to Belgium result in interesting takes on saisons and Abbey beers, while trips to Great Britain bring specialized malts and reimagined versions of traditional British ales. When I saw that Pretty Things was releasing an American IPA as a seasonal beer last spring, I was a little surprised, while the IPA has become a calling card for the American craft beer movement, Pretty Things seemed to always march to the beat of their own drum. Then I read the story that accompanied the beer, about a cross country trek in the US tasting local beer and eating BBQ, and it all made sense. What better way to pay homage to the burgeoning American craft beer movement than to brew the beer that helped pave the way for a renewed interest in brewing in the US. Even better, now Meadowlark IPA is available year-round, in 22 oz bottles and on draft at many local establishments.
Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA pours a clear amber/red with significant carbonation and a small white head. The smell is all of the great scents you expect from American hops, Citrus, guava and grapefruit. The taste is nicely balanced, bitter enough but not overdone (85 IBU’s, which is solid), with a solid malt backbone that gives hints of caramel without taking away from the hop-forward nature you expect from an American IPA. The hops give the full variety of hop flavors, lemon and tropical fruit dominate, but cut grass and pine are present as well. At 7.0 ABV this is not a light beer at all, but it is surprisingly easy to drink, so be careful. This is one of my absolute favorite beers from one of my favorite brewers, I was ecstatic when they announced it would be available year-round. Go try it. Today. Hoppy Boston score: 5.0/5.