Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 was THE day: The day that Kinsmen Brewing Co. of Milldale, Connecticut released their Husky Hops India pale ale, or IPA, and served it at The Rent – aka, Rentschler Field – during the UConn vs. Yale football game. Well, let me tell you, the football team wasn’t the only one with their first win in 721 days – the world of IPAs had a huge breakthrough as well. Kinsmen and UConn Athletics collaborated for this alcoholic delicacy, mixing the perfect amount of hops with UConn spirit.
For those of you unfamiliar with India pale ale, it’s a style of beer processed in a certain way to preserve it for the long run. In the late 1700s, British sailors would brew their beer before setting out on the journey to India and would prepare it with plenty of hops to preserve the alcohol. By the time they made it to India, the ale would be quite pale. The lighter it was, the more refreshing it would be. Hops are plants that produce flowers and seed cones that are used to keep beer stable and provide a specific taste to beer. Every single beer out there has hops in it. The kind and amount of hops determines the flavor and intensity of the drink. Typically, IPAs have more hops than your average light lager because of their history and the desire for stronger beer that lasts longer.
They don’t call me IPA Tay for nothing, and I’ve been looking forward to the day that I could down this beverage for way, way too long. Shortly after I turned 21, IPAs became my favorite choice of alcohol and since then, I will always go out of my way to scope out new, unique ones. However, since I was working the football game, I needed to wait until later to get my hands on one.
That is, until a girl – with the best of intentions – threw an open can at me and my camera and encouraged me to try “literally the best thing ever.” To me, the label on the outside of the can itself is awesome on its own and properly signifies just how good the product is inside.
Based on the splash that she so generously shared with me, I knew why she was so drunk off of the drink. I didn’t drink a can during the game, but after only that small sample she doused me with, I already knew that this could be the most perfect IPA I’ve ever had. Thinking about that spill amped me up even more for a full, unspilled can to myself later to celebrate such a historic day.
IPAs have a reputation for having a bitter, citrus flavor due to the average amount of hops that most of them have, but Husky Hops is not like other girls – for real. I don’t think I could tell you the last time I had an IPA with such distinct pineapple tones until I met Miss H. Hops, and I don’t know if the others will be able to compare. Additionally, grapefruit isn’t unique to this drink, but the emphasis on the grapefruit flavor instead of the bitterness is unique, making it something super easy to sip, chug or laugh off when an open can of it is thrown at you.
I also caught hints of a peach, tangerine or orange in there. Usually, an orange, tangerine or grapefruit flavor would take over a drink, but I was pleasantly surprised with how I was able to make out the different fruits and that they didn’t present themselves so bitterly. It’s important to note that Husky Hops is a hazy IPA, meaning that the appearance of it is indeed cloudy, which is usually indicative of the flavor it’s packing – juicy, not incredibly bitter and overall just an easy beer to enjoy.
Husky Hops will continue to be sold at The Rent, along with Gampel Pavilion, the XL Center, wherever else alcohol is permitted to be sold on the UConn campus and at the Kinsmen Brewing Co. taproom. There are few ways I prefer to spend my time aside from drinking beer and cheering on the UConn Huskies as a proud student and fan. If your passions are anything similar, I definitely encourage you to sip on this masterpiece as soon as possible. Go Huskies, and go Husky Hops!