Another day’s mail, another beer delivery. The appearance of a couple cold bottles of Henry’s new India Pale Ale is by no means cause to jump, jive, and wail (especially if you were hoping for cognac), but unlike some longtime Northwesties, I maintain a soft spot in my liver for this venerable brand.
While it’s true the Weinhard Brewing operation in Portland closed down in 1999 when it was bought by industry giant SABMiller, Henry’s is largely brewed on a contract basis by Full Sail in Hood River, so technically it’s still a part of the landscape. Over the last several years they’ve continued to churn out the familiar Henry’s Private Reserve and Blue Boar, while diversifying the brand a bit with their own palate-friendly versions of hefeweizen, blonde ale (a serviceable beer), the odd seasonal, and now an IPA. While I certainly wouldn’t stack it up against BridgePort IPA or Hair of the Dog’s Blue Dot (it’s nowhere near as robust), for the price (usually between $5.99 and $6.99 for a six pack) it’s not too shabby. It’s got a piney-fruit aroma, a generous hop bite with a decent amount of malt backbone, and a tingly finish.
It’s good to know that a mid-range option still exists somewhere on the suds spectrum between down-market corn-fed swill on one end and premium-priced craft beer on the other. Clue me in, drinking buddies: What do you reach for when the wallet won’t allow a trip to the top shelf?