Character is one of those things we all want to build but would prefer to do so in painless fashion. Most of us aspire to having and being known as a person of good character. Unfortunately, it is usually the painful or at least annoying experiences that we say “build character.” No one ever finds a 100 dollar bill on the side walk and then remarks, “Well, this was a character building day!” Even the silly yet bothersome things build character, so we say. The weather this week is a character building experience, as was my recent golf score, and the fact that I forgot to have a review in last week. Ah, character is a grand thing, after the fact, of course.
Our first softball game of the fall season was one of those (silly) character building experiences as well. We fell in a merciless drubbing, our opponents besting us by a factor of 10. Needless to say, it was also one of those experiences when, upon completion, your first thought is, “Well that was a character building experience.” Your second thought quickly follows, “And I need a beer.” Beer, it would seem, often follows on the heels of character building.
I returned home, opened the fridge, stuck my head inside to cool off for a bit, and saw a few bottles of Inversion IPA from Deschutes Brewery that were chilled and ready to drink. Timely. I grabbed one, opened it, and got myself ready for an intensely refreshing hop experience. I was not disappointed. While the usual Mirror Pond from Deschutes is a drinker but nothing to write home about, Inversion IPA is a great example of a balanced IPA. Its full of enough hops to make the hopheads nod in approval, but nicely balanced on the finish with toasted malt flavor that would keep a non-IPA drinker drinking this beer. My immediate thought was, “this was how IPA’s tasted before we got crazy about them.” It isn’t an obscene example of a West Coast IPA, but is rather a middle-of-the-road American IPA. It isn’t trying to be anything it isn’t. Instead, it is as if this beer has learned some life lessons itself and is content to be what it is. Character indeed.
It pours a gorgeous copper, almost brown color – darker than your average IPA. The color alone is enough to appreciate, it truly is beautiful. Inversion is smooth right from the beginning, incredibly so, and not burdened by too high of an alcohol content (6.8%). That alcohol is high enough to keep you honest, however. It isn’t a session beer to be sure (a term reserved for beers lower in ABV that are thus able to be consumed in greater quantities without ill effects), but isn’t a destination beer either. You realize rather quickly, however, this is an intensely drinkable beer. It would suit both those who love IPA’s, and those who don’t normally care for them due to the balance it brings.
While character is often built through pain or annoyance, it can occasionally be garnered through more pleasant activities as well. The Inversion IPA was a beer that reminded me of two things: first, getting drubbed in softball isn’t the worst thing in the world, its best not to take it too seriously (though my teammates always manage to keep any of us from getting too serious, thankfully), and secondly, do what you do, be who you are, and be content with that. This is a beer that is so balanced, it just seems content in and of itself. If beer can have character, the Inversion IPA from Deschutes Brewery is a class act. If a beer can build character, well then, raise a glass and enjoy building your moral fiber one sip at a time.