Beer Review: Arch Brewing Company Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA


Dinner Jacket IPA

What am I supposed to wear to this thing?

This is how it usually begins.  Well actually it begins with an invitation asking me to attend some social event that I probably don’t want to go to in the first place.  But once I’ve accepted that it can’t be that bad (but probably will be); I am confronted by a riddle.  Dress code: Business casual.  What the hell does business casual mean?  As far as I can tell business casual is some type of secret man-challenge to dress well, but not too well; and avoid the unenviable position of being the most overdressed or too casual.  “Is my uncle coming?” is usually the first question I ask.  You see if the man who showed up to a family reunion in cut-off jeans and a too-tight certified breast inspector t-shirt is coming, I can be fairly confident I won’t be the most casual.  Overdressed, on the other hand, is a little harder to assess but I may have finally found my answer in Arch Brewing Company’s Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA.

Dinner Jacket IPA is the first beer from Arch Brewing Company , a contract brewer operating out of Wellington Brewery’s facilities in Guelph.    This is not the first time Wellington has supported a new brewer, as they continue to maintain a relationship with Double Trouble Brewing  and their line-up of two pale ales and a pilsner.  Although I’m sure Wellington benefits somewhat from these arrangements, their efforts are to be lauded and is a great reflection on the cooperative spirit of Ontario Craft Brewers.

So as for the beer, Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA is a red India pale ale that comes in at 6.3% and 60 IBU’s.  Red IPA’s are a growing segment in the craft beer market as brewers experiment with different ways to meet the demand for bitter ales. The beer is amber in colour with a pleasant caramel aroma.  Each sip begins with the slightly heavy malts of a red ale and ends with the bitter hoppy taste of a true IPA.  In fact the Dinner Jacket IPA does a great job of balancing the amber ale qualities of the beer, with the higher hop content.  I imagine it pairs well with a light spicy meal such as pho, although it seems to do just fine on its own with a side of Blue Jays baseball.   Is it the best beer I’ve ever had?  No, but it is quite good and I’ll surely be returning for more.  What’s more the next time I see the words business casual I’ll know to pack a dinner jacket with a hidden pocket for my can of Arch Brewing’s Dinner Jacket IPA.   At least that way I can enjoy the beer if not the company.

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