Harpoon Brewery in Boston originally built it’s reputation on a solid stable of year-round beers led by their flagship English style IPA. Recently they have drawn praise for their more adventurous and experimental beers, including their 100 Barrel Series and Leviathan Big Beers. Harpoon also makes a number of seasonal beers, including the popular and long running Summer Ale, Octoberfest and Winter Warmer. This year Harpoon released a new Winter into Spring seasonal, a white IPA named The Long Thaw. I’m a big fan of the white IPA style when it’s done well, the Belgian yeast and citrus flavors of a witbier can nicely complement pungent American hops. The Long Thaw is available on draft and in 12 oz bottles from January through March.
Harpoon The Long Thaw pours straw gold with a solid white head. It is a little surprising how clear the beer is, the use of wheat malts usually gives a beer a cloudy character, but this has been filtered. The smell is pretty subtle, some piney hops along with spicy coriander. The malts and spices come across first in the taste, some wheat and bready flavors from the malt along with orange and coriander. There are some hop flavors afterwards, notes of lemon and earth, but much more muted than I would expect in a beer labeled “IPA”. The Belgian yeast adds some peppery flavors, but it’s pretty subtle. The Long Thaw is light bodied and easy to drink, but pretty solid at 6.2% ABV. The finish is mild, with a touch of spice. If The Long Thaw is pretty good as a witbier, but doesn’t quite fit the as a white IPA, it needs more hop character. Hoppy Boston score: 3.75/5.
Previous Harpoon reviews: