Nestled in rural Windsor, Vermont, Harpoon is known for being at the earlier stages of the New England microbery revolution. Most people are familiar with Harpoon’s IPA, which has become fairly commonplace in the Northeast and one of the quintessential IPAs in the mid-1990s.
The early success of their flagship IPA first brewed in 1993, has set the stage for Harpoon to continue to experiment and release alternative IPAs, venturing into different IPA recipes, sessions, ales, and seasonals.
Having recently visited the brewery in Windsor, I found Take 5 to be one of the more underrated beers in Harpoon’s portfolio. It is an easily drinkable, refreshing, and crisp session IPA that packs quite a lot of flavor into a beer that has a very manageable 4.3% alcohol by volume.
The color of this beer is a golden / light amber and pours into a pint glass with minimal haze. The head pours out pillowy and dissipates nearly as quickly as it forms when you near the end of the pour. The foam tastes as light as it looks and is more aromatic than I expected. The first aroma that hits your nose is pine followed by tropical fruit. At first, I thought it was pineapple, but that’s not exactly right. It’s a really a well-balanced combination of pine (from the Simcoe and Amarillo hops), and citrus, with a slight maltiness.
This is the type of beer that is perfect for a day at the lake, on the golf course, or playing cornhole.”
This beer contains four malts but is definitely not a ‘malty beer’. It has a refreshing mouthfeel that is bright, with the flavors complementing one another well. The taste matches the aroma, with notes of citrus and pine the most prevalent, match well with subtleties of maltiness. No big flavor shines above the rest and the malts complement the fruit and slightly bitter hop flavors really well.
Based on the aroma, you might expect some bigger fruit in the taste, but the flavors of this beer come together the way a well-made, bright, and light session should. The finish is crisp and clean and leaves the palate pretty quickly; it is a bit malty, but the flavor that comes through the most is a slightly bitter orange-rind flavor that matches neither the aroma nor the taste.
Take 5 is an extremely refreshing, pleasant, and definitely crushable, session IPA. You'll find these go down pretty easily with Harpoon packing some solid flavor into one their lowest ABV brews.
This is the type of beer that is perfect for a day at the lake, on the golf course, or playing cornhole around the yard for an entire afternoon. Take 5 can compete with nearly any session as the go-to beer for a long, relaxed day.