What beer would Luke Cage drink?
Based on the label, that seems to be the question Brooklyn Brewery was seeking to answer with their Defender IPA.
In all of their promotional information about this beer, Brooklyn claims that Brooklyn Defender protects beer lovers from blandness. They want the beer to embody the Fort Green and Clinton Hill neighborhoods. Given that description, the beer fails if only because it doesn’t have a bold, jump-out kind of IPA flavor. It’s not for super hop-heads.
However, Defender succeeds at being a very nice, sessionable IPA. That’s not nearly a sexy description when you have a bad-ass comic book hero on your label, but it probably makes more sense if you’re making a beer for a large crowd of Comic Con fans.
The beer itself is a red IPA. I’m not usually a fan of red ales. I usually find them kind of thin and lacking in flavor and viscosity. In this application, that bland background leaves room for floral hop flavors to come through without being super bitter. It’s piney and rich in a way I wouldn’t expect from red malts. So, instead of a super hero defending beer lovers from blandness, I would offer the following rewrite for Brooklyn Defender:
Arising from the streets of Brooklyn, the Defender stands to defend artists and artisans from the pretensions of trust-fund hipsters and their over-hopped beer. He defends beer lovers from hyped up, expensive crap with over 100 IBUs. If you see these shiny new overpriced hop-festival beers creeping into your beer aisle, call on the Defender to keep the gentrification of your liquor store at bay. So, raise a glass of this beautiful and well-rounded IPA instead of a glass of grapefruit and intense resin sourness. Defend well-crafted beer from the exaggerated mutant IPAs that seek to destroy it.
That description is much more accurate. The beer is good and the logo is awesome. As you gear up for all your con-attending plans this summer. land up on Defender. You’ll be glad you did.