Christian Moerlein Brewing Company - Bay of Bengal
- ABV: 8.9%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 98
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, Pint Glass
- Malts: 2-Row Pale, Munich, Wheat, Black
- Hops: Cascade, Centennial, Falconer’s Flight, Galena
This Double IPA from Christian Moerlein pours an attractive amber color with good clarity and a robust cap of persistent foam which laces nicely as one drains their glass. The expressive aroma offers up quite an inviting array of scents including citrus zest reminiscent of grapefruit and lime, herbal spiciness, floral notes, a hint of pine, and tropical fruit impressions. Weighing in at a big 98 IBU (we’ve also seen an alternative figure of 126 – in any case, it’s massive!), it’s no surprise Bay of Bengal presents very firm bitterness as soon as it crosses one’s lips, but we felt the malty core did an admirable job of offering some balancing structure with a touch of residual sweetness to accompany its subdued caramel and toasty character. The hop flavors come through as a super-expressive mélange of resinous citrus tones, soft floral and tropical fruit notes, and spicy herbal character, and the bitterness dries the beer out while lingering long in the finish, inviting us to take another sip. As always with the IPA spectrum, spicy dishes make good complementary pairings, but feel free to try some sweeter dishes too. Barbecued meats with a sweet sauce could be a nice match, as well as Asian dishes featuring sweet teriyaki or citrus-infused sauces, like orange chicken – the big hop bitterness will easily counter the sweet sauce or glaze while the citric hop notes will complement the sauce. Cheers!
There’s a rich brewing tradition in and around Cincinnati, OH. In fact, at its peak Cincinnati was home to at least 36 operational breweries, with many not surprisingly located in the German “Over-the-Rhine” district. One of the individuals who were key to establishing the city as a brewing hub was Christian Moerlein, a blacksmith and apprentice brewer from Bavaria who came to America in 1841 and settled in Cincinnati a year later. In 1853 he founded the Christian Moerlein (pronounced like “more-line”) Brewery, which grew to become the most well-known in the city and was ranked among the top ten nationally. Moerlein’s beer was sold across the U.S. and, quite remarkably for the era, internationally as well – which made Moerlein unique among Cincinnati’s breweries. Though the brewery carried on after Christian Moerlein’s passing in 1897, Prohibition in 1920 caused the brewery to close its doors. Luckily, though, our story continues.
Hudepohl, another of Cincinnati’s famous German-brewed beer companies (dating back to 1885), brought the Christian Moerlein brand back from extinction and reintroduced their beer as a high-end offering in 1981. This put the Moerlein brand on the forefront of the U.S. beer renaissance which was just beginning to take shape. Eventually, however, the Hudepohl Brewing Company fell on hard times and was purchased by the Snyder International Brewing Group which kept the Moerlein brand going, although just barely. Production of these Ohio-centric beers shifted to Maryland until 2004, when Cincinnati area resident and beer business veteran Greg Hardman bought the Moerlein name and beer recipes in order to rebuild the brand back home in Cincinnati – which he has done with great success in the past several years we might add. For more information about the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and their ‘Moerlein Lager House’ restaurant and brewery that opened in Riverfront Park in early 2012, check out www.christianmoerlein.com.
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