What’s in a mutt, anyways? They make great companions as dogs, and are genetically superior to a lot of purebreds who have long been overly in demand. The same isn’t always true for beer, though. In many instances we’re beholden to the trappings of certain styles or recipe trends because they’ve been proven to be in some way superior. And let’s be real – cayenne and dark chocolate go just as great together in the real world as they do in beer! Just because you’re seeking a pedigree, though, doesn’t mean that’s what you get out of a batch of beer. Maybe that’s why this is called a mutt of an IPA. We doubt that was Beer Hound’s intent, but it works in a this-logic-only-makes-sense-to-me-so-bugger-off kind of way.
Mutt IPA, Beer Hound Brewery (Culpeper, VA)
American India Pale Ale, 7.1% ABV, 56 IBU
Presentation: Bomber pour into nonic pint glass.
Appearance: More akin to an effervescent American Pale Ale. Bubbles leave a residue all over the glass that’s not quite lattice.
Taste: You may be looking for All-American flavors, but this is more All-Belgian, starting with the nose. I was shocked, honestly, to get mostly pear and a hint of sweetness where Beer Hound suggested to look for pine (again, closer to APA than IPA territory). That pear profile quickly gives ways to a hefty malt backbone which again is more fructose than glucose in terms of sugars. If you give the finish a hot minute, you do eventually get some pine resins without much of any bitterness.
Mouth Feel: This really sticks to the sides of the tongue. That would be more typically in a briny beer like a Gose, or a heavy adjunct-forward varietal. Those are the salt receptors, in other words. You would expect a Pale Ale to hit you more in the back of the mouth (where bitter resides). The effect is pleasant, actually, but if you were expecting a best-of-breed result you may come back asking why your $3,500 Pointer keeps acting like a cross-eyed, incontinent senior citizen.
Overall: Bright and fruity, with a brief intro to hop-based oils. Pine is certainly there, as other APA colors and malts. Beer Hound calls this a beginner’s American IPA, a gateway beer so to speak. Honestly, though, if we’re getting into lineage this is far closer to a mild Belgian IPA. The pear aspect really livens up as the beer warms in your glass. So if you were to ask our opinion – which if you’re bothering to read our hot mess of a review than you at least care enough to throw batteries at us – this is a better companion for fans of beers like Yuengling and Sam Adams. The more farmhouse elements can segue into a Saison, or the pine oils into a full-throated APA or similar. And remember, always get your pets spayed or neutered!