Beery loves – as with their equally whimsical human counterparts – come and go. Yet, like those times when you kind of think you saw someone at a station that might have been that person you maybe once went out with, a tweet I saw the other day brought one flinging back straight into the cortex. Only with canned American IPA. Yes, a small – but vibrantly eye-catching – tin of Oregonian India Pale Ale suddenly reminded me of one of the most formative of beers in my progression from Carling drinker to wherever the heck I am now.
But dare I try it again?
Caldera IPA has a long and welcome history with me; having supplanted Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (which was my original gateway beer’) it became something I really got into in a big way – which, on reflection, might not have been the best choice as it was more or less impossible to get hold of. Back in the heady days of November 2009 I was banging on about it, as if it was the greatest thing ever.
Which, back then, it was. However there have been so many beers since, countless IPA’s amongst them (227 according to my entries on RateBeer). So if I had it again, how would it hold up? Should you give it another go, in case you don’t like it as much? It’s like watching an episode of SuperTed and realising it doesn’t quite hold up anymore.
But you have to do it, really. If nothing else, to make you re-assess how good your judgement was back then (so not at all like that fleeting glimpse on the station platform).
So along I went, and picked up two cans. How did it hold up? What had changed since 2009 (apart from my then-hideous wallpaper)? Well, it turns out very little. Still a huge amount of pine and a rich thickness on the finish that came out more this time as melon sweetness. Just as drinkable as before – it may not compare with the enormous bone-crunchers I have discovered since – but it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to.
It’s still a pleasure to drink and an IPA that I would still enjoy on a regular basis. If I could get hold of it more often. Plus it looks like a can of Rubicon so you can legitimately drink it walking down the street.
It’s great to go back, when it all works out. Caldera IPA is one of my fondest beery memories. Some (like original cask Boddingtons) can’t ever come back – but it’s great that I’ve found one that does.
In fact, it was every bit as good as it was when we featured Caldera IPA as part of BeerCast #49. Which if nothing else, is a chance to actually listen to one of our podcasts, for those who never had the pleasure first time around. To give you an idea of just how long ago that was, it opened with topical jokes about the 2010 General Election – and it was the forty-ninth BeerCast we released. Some things are best left where they lie…