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I Am Bound to Have Another Metes and Bounds

Sometimes you just have to ignore your inner curmudgeon and just go with the beer flow.  At least I do.

Take the new-ish trend of creating so-called XPA – Extra Pale Ale. It is supposed to a beer that lands somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA. Conceptually it makes sense but part of me wants to run to my BJCP guidelines in a desperate search to find it. It is not in there, of course, because it is not yet officially a style. Which drives the style curmudgeon in me crazy.

But then I got my hands on a bottle of Annex Ales Project’s Metes and Bounds, which they proudly call an XPA. And sampling it quiets my inner style curmudgeon, momentarily.

It pours medium orange copper. It is quite hazy, actually, and forms a huge, dense, bubbly head. The aroma has a bright citrus note, some leafy hop character and a background toffee and biscuit malt. It also has a noted ale fruitiness. It smells fresh and bright.

In the sip, the front front offers a big pit fruit and citrus note mixed with some wildflower honey, light caramel and slight piney earthiness. The middle draws out an earthy hop character and some lemon while staying quite smooth and  creamy in the body. The finish has a bright citrus character and an assertive bitterness, but without losing the biscuity malt base. The linger is pine, lemon and mango.

Okay. I get it. XPA is maybe a thing. Metes and Bounds wonderfully straddles the best of both an IPA and a Pale Ale. An assertive hop presence balanced by a pleasant and rounded toffee, light caramel, toasted malt base. The malt co-stars in this beer, giving it both more balance and more drinkability than a more assertive IPA, while still presenting a stage for the hops to shine. A fine balance, but one nicely struck by Annex Ales.

I must admit I think this could be a dangerous beer for me if I wasn’t careful. The style curmudgeon in me be damned.

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