Torpedo Extra IPA

Friday, March 12, 2010

When I was an adolescent, a family I knew through school and soccer moved to Mississippi from Houston. The head of that family and I sometimes got scheduled to referee games together, and as I became acquainted with him, his seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of Mississippi impressed me for a couple of reasons. First, he knew more than I did. Second, I wondered why anyone would bother to learn so much about the place. I asked about this once, and he said something like, "If you're going to live somewhere, you might as well learn about it."

I didn't fully appreciate his point at the time, but as I would learn later, he chose to move to Mississippi, and what he was doing was simply learning more about a place he liked. I would later learn through experience that a little extra knowledge is very important part of enjoying life. The knowledge itself is often its own reward, but it can also make one better able to appreciate what one values or lead to other good things. How many people live their whole lives somewhere without ever staycationing, for example?

And so, with things I enjoy, it has become my habit to look into them a little bit. Noticing a new beer on the shelf recently by Sierra Nevada, one of my favorite brewers, and being back in the mood for a hoppy beer, I purchased a six-pack of Torpedo Extra India Pale Ale at my last visit to the beer emporium. (Might the shift in my "beer mood" from stouts and maltier beers back to hoppy ones be an internal sign that spring has arrived? I've practically wintered on Left Hand Milk Stout and Spaten Optimator.)

I highly recommend the beer to fellow hop heads, although I'm not reviewing it here. That's been done enough already. But what I will do is share some of the interesting things I learned when I became curious about the name of the beer, and whether there was a connection to submarines going on.

  • As far as I can tell, the only submarine-themed beer is Yellow Submarine Munich Helles by the Dry Dock Brewing Company, and calling it submarine-themed may be cheating.
  • One brewer, New Hampshire's Smuttynose, released its Granite Ghost Ale specifically in honor of the commissioning of the USS New Hampshire, SSN 778.
  • You can make whatever beer you like submarine-themed by pouring it into one of these submarine steins, ...
  • ... or opening it with a nifty submarine bottle opener.
  • There are two mixed drinks, both involving beer, named for submarines, the atomic submarine and the Mexican submarine. I might try the second one some time, if the opportunity presents itself and I think to do so.
  • Finally, there is no real submarine connection in the name of Sierra Nevada's excellent IPA: "The name itself comes from a device called the 'hop torpedo' that was conceived, designed and developed at the brewery." I believe this might have been mentioned on the label, but I'm not scrounging through the trash for my last bottle to find out.
The Sierra Nevada site also explains what has been a longstanding mystery to me: Why didn't that brewery have an IPA in its non-seasonal product line until so recently?

-- CAV


The GolfMage said...

That's deep. Fills the stein full for now.

mtnrunner2 said...

Nice. I had not noticed any submarine-themed beers until this one.

I was glad when Torpedo started showing up in stores. I'm halfway through a 6-pack right now :)

Although I like the Left Hand (from Longmont just north of my area) stout, I've been "wintering" on Deschutes Obsidian Stout and Inversion IPA. Great beers if you can get 'em.

Gus Van Horn said...

All right, Golf. Whatever floats your target -- I mean boat.

And thanks for the beer recommendations, Jeff.