Lakefront Brewery is a Milwaukee, WI based brewery that has been around since the late 1980′s. I remember having some of their beers around the holidays about 10 years ago, before I was as knowledgeable about beer as I am today, and I even ate at the brewpub that is on the river probably 8-9 years ago. In fact, I’m even drinking this out of the Lakefront Brewery pint glass I bought on that trip. I think the KC area has had Lakefront beers for about the past 6 months, if not a little longer, but I could be wrong.
Lakefront’s IPA pours a cloudy orange color with tons of yeast floating in it. The head is thick like shaving foam and just slightly off-white, and I was able to build a nice ice-cream cone-like head over the glass, like is done with hefeweizens. I don’t think I’ve had an IPA that I’ve been able to do that with before.
Anyway, to review IPA’s, the story (which I’m not sure is true) is that English brewers used to make a higher alcohol, higher hopped beer (both of which aid in preserving it over time) for transportation to the colonies in India. When Brits came back from India they still demanded this style of beer, etc etc. Who knows? What I DO know is that IPA’s are one of my favorite styles.
Since this is a midwest IPA, I’m expecting a maltier, toned down version compared to say, a West Coast version. The aroma certainly lives up to that expectation… not a lot here. Some floral hops, but an almost sweet tinge to the aroma, overall.
With my first sip I noticed that the beer is fairly low in carbonation (maybe because I piled it all into that head!), and it makes for a nice, smooth mouthfeel. This is definitely not a West Coast style IPA. It’s very balanced, if not even on the malty side (for an IPA). Unfortunately, Lakefront’s website has no info about this beer on it, but it does have a recipe for IPA donuts using their beer! Sounds great, actually!
There is a little hoppiness that clings toward the finish of each sip, but this is really a malty beer all things considered. The hops tend to be a little grapefruity, but I think they’re muted by the malt. I think if you gave me this beer without the label, I would guess it is an American Pale Ale, rather than an IPA, just because the hops are so understated.
That said, this is a good beer and a pretty nice drinker because it’s so smooth. There is a TON of yeast in the glass, and it’s not my favorite IPA I’ve had in a while, but it’s not bad by any stretch, either. If I get a chance and actually drink through the trillion beers I have at home right now, I’d like to do a back to back tasting of this and Boulevard’s Singlewide IPA. I think they are quite similar in a lot of ways.