Nineties kids are the craft beer generation. They love nostalgia, they love IPAs, so why not cram those two things together into some serious Millennial bait? Enter The Brewing Projekt’s IP-A, a Hi-C-aping milkshake IPA. From the label to the fruit stand of flavors packed into the beer, this “tropical tea punch” is one of the most unabashedly shameless interpretations of the nigh-meaningless IPA style to date. But if you ever had one of these yellow boxes packed with your lunch, you don’t care about that. All you care about is getting that juice box experience in your nightly pint, and this faithful re-interpretation of Hi-C offers exactly that.
I was not expecting IP-A to actually be Hi-C red, but kudos to The Brewing Projekt for thoroughly committing to its homage. IPAs often showcase grapefruit aromas and flavors, but rarely has a beer done such a good job of capturing the pinkish, gauzy hue of the fruit’s flesh.
The Brewing Projekt cracked it. The unidentifiable citrus, the strangely acute apple scent, the unmistakable peaks of pineapple—these are the proprietary aromas of Hi-C. The only thing telling you this is beer is that grounding whiff of Citra and Mosaic riding along the fruit wave.
IP-A drinks like a late-night bet between nostalgic brewers seeing who could most faithfully emulate fruit punch.”
IP-A is flavored with mango puree, apple juice, orange juice, hibiscus, lemongrass, tangerine concentrate, and pineapple flavor. That’s more fruit than in a box of Hi-C, though the beer is less than 0.025% juice. Doesn’t taste like it. The line between beer and juice is fully challenged here. Every sip is a see-saw between the two, though it’s not a particularly satisfying struggle.
Though not totally offensive, IP-A is ultimately a lark. It drinks like a late-night bet between nostalgic brewers seeing who could most faithfully emulate fruit punch. The winner of that bet is anyone who misses the flavor of Hi-C and the excuse to drink it. Enjoy it for what it is, and try to get your hands on it before Minute Maid gets wise and sics its lawyers.