IPAs are in a strange place at present. Like any style or medium, they continue to evolve in unforeseen ways to embrace the subjective caprices of the user. One of the inherent self-evident assumptions that prevailed for decades was that these hoppy beers of English origin required clarity and deflocculation. Appeals to authority predicated upon historical “recipes” seem like an inherently flawed touchstone, because the very means of production created by a historical bottleneck doesn’t seem like a valid basis for establishing guidelines in perpetuity. Unless you have your BJs certified, no one honestly is a strict style guideline constructionalist.
PREPARE URSELF FOR THE TLDRiediest of TLDRS
There has been a long standing assumption that everything within the ambit of the IPA style must exist in a unified agreement. The same 90s leveraging that Stone pulled against Fullers by increasing the hop bill to absurd levels, enjoyed its own early 2000s reaction by East Coast breweries increasing crystal malts and SRM, making these sickly malty baby barleywines that are now the subject of much derision. In turn the late 2000s west coast reaction was the Hegelian thesis-anithesis-synthesis in the dialectic by creating wiped out, paper thin, cirtus forward IPAs that became the gold standard to the modern era of IPA expression.
So enter a new school of Hoofheartism, trub forward, flour laden, oat soaked, yeasty cake bombs that on the face of things seem inherently “wrong” to the Alpine/Societe/Sculpin structure that beer nerds have intersubjectively decided to be the objective “right” in the scope of hoppy prescriptivity.
In literature, the deconstructionist sees a writer’s circumstances and intentions as part of “context” but ultimately, a writer does not wield or create language, he is enveloped by it. From a brewer’s perspective we can analyze the intentionality of chicken broth IPAs not as a teleological end, an aesthetic judgment of a “correct” IPA, because the brewer himself exists within the canon and scope of IPAs. You can argue that you think they look like smegma mixed with queefy afterbirth and Untappd will still post your review.
An outstanding philosophical inquiry exists whether we question the INTENT of the brewer in the execution of the beer? Can there be extant flaws if the “errors” are the product of challenging the limits of established hoppy normalcy? Does the result of transferred user driven discussion to brewer as an a prior entity amount to tennis without a net? THIS IS JUST A FUKN WORDPRESS SITE GO ASK BEERPULSE FUCK I DNO.
So ultimately we can frame the current debate about IPAs around two opposed camps, the prescriptive “old guard” of clarity and the “new guard” of reactionaries. The former would want you to limit the scope of IPA contemplation to existing standards, while the latter exist largely within the oeuvre of the “brewgeist” itself, defying the “traditionalism” of the past decade. This dichotomy places a false emphasis on value judgments and instead leads the IPA consumer to believe that a binary battle of alpha acid oily prescriptivity has a true “winner.”
So what the fuck does this community college-tier linguistic theory have to do with Monkish? They have collaborated with Other Half, a company ensconced in the “new guard”, while despite Monkish having never made an IPA themselves, created a hybrid of the two schools of thought, on the west coast.
This is a fantastic litmus test for the tenor of current IPA politics. It has the same hop profile from the traditional west coast realm, tons of mango and pineapple, guava and creamy tangerine. However, aesthetically, it leans closer to the sordid “can loving” New England turbidity. It exists as a neutral proving ground for the west coast, long the IPA golden child to ironically “emulate” the “deconstructionist” IPAs of the east. In rejecting the benchmarks of prior IPAs, the next step in the dialectic is complete: a west coast IPA with refined turbidity, silky mouthfeel, a yeasty matter in suspension, but with the underpinnings and swallow of something distrinctively San Diegan in execution. It has the pine, but it also has the tropical zest of that cum colored Lifesaver. The oils dont have as much cling as say some Tired Hands cans, but I see this as a bi-partisan measure leveraged to send dripping cones across the aisle.
We will see more of this, and BJCP facebook groups will get their Tommy Bahama shirts soaked with tears talking about “STYLE GUIDELINES” and “INHERENT FLAWS”, resulting in amazing material for this site. The non-ironic cries and squibblings of grown men about how their sugar water SHOULD be, brings a satisfied full dental grin to those detached enough to contribute less than a plural amount of fucks.