M-43, an Aromatic IPA

Even if it’s not quite totally the case in the Old World, it must be admitted that IPA is the most popular beer style everywhere else, and especially in the US. What ended up intriguing me is that we talk about almost nothing but the bitterness of this style. It’s even become an obsession. Today, when we talk about an IPA, we talk about bitterness and IBU level.

Anyone interested in beer knows what the IBU (International Bittering Units) scale is. Many people look for this indication on a bottle or can of IPA. This one has 50, that one 70… So I’ll take that one, it will be more bitter…

But, the IBU scale is not measured on the perceived bitterness of the beer, but in fact measures the amount of isomerized alpha acids. In fact and in summary, IBU has nothing to do with the hoppiness we actually taste.

And to illustrate the point, here is M-43 N.E. IPA (N.E. for New England), from the Old Nation Brewing Company (Williamston, Michigan, USA), which started up in 2015. This 6.8%-ABV beer is labelled 65 IBUs. Does that mean it’s very bitter? Well, I’m taking bets!

In fact, this beer is exceptionally juicy, and, where IPAs are concerned, I must say that it’s one of the sweetest I have tasted. This beer is beautifully hopped (brewed with Calypso, Amarillo, Citra; dry-hopped with Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe), but super-soft and super-smooth in terms of mouthfeel. If one of your friends says he doesn’t like IPAs, make him taste this nicely drinkable one, and he’s going to change his mind.