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The Tap

Review - The Tap Brewery's Leatherlips IPA

"Hold onto your hats, or even better - your lips! This beer is for hop-heads only. Ripe with floral and citrus notes, our new "India pale ale" is so packed with Centennial, Nugget and Chinook hops it should be green (the color of hops). Hop to the challenge! " -- The Tap Brewery

This was our first trip to The Tap and, as such, this was the first beer that we ordered as we'd heard a lot of hype about it. First, we love that it's brewed in this charming brewpub, downtown in a historic Massachusetts town (Haverhill). Both of us were surprised when we looked at the beer menu and noticed that this only came in at around 50 ibu's. Given all the talk that this beer was meant for serious hop heads only, we were expecting a much higher number.

It pours a medium amber to copper color with a creamy, off-white head that has good staying power. Body is slightly hazy, although not nearly as much as expected with an unfiltered product. Aroma is lightly hoppy with sharp citrus (lemon) notes, and a hint of pear. Light bread malts fill out the nose. Initial taste is a light bitter, although it cranks up to a highly bitter finish without much to balance it out, and a long duration. Medium bodied, it is somewhere between watery and creamy with soft carbonation.

Despite the relatively low ibu's, the lack of a substantial malt character lends it a much higher bitter profile than anticipated. At 50 ibu's, we expected a relatively smooth finish, but without the balance typically provided by the malts, it is inherently more bitter than several of the beers we've had in the same ibu range. This is not to be interpreted as a bad thing, as both Sean and I are serious hop heads ourselves. This is a good thing, that such a solid bitterness comes from a seemingly low ibu count.

Reviewed on January 9th, 2007 with Amber and Andy


Official Tap Brewery website