Though not as flashy as a hot tub or as practical as a DeLorean, Circle Brewing’s Archetype Historical IPA similarly wants to transport you back in time. Specifically, one sip of this Austin, Texas brewery’s work sets the dial for the 1700s—when British Pale Ales first reached India and started a gradual evolution into the beloved IPA. As Circle co-founders Ben Sabel and Jud Mulherin put it, “We wanted the experience of drinking the Archetype to be exactly what it was like to drink an ‘IPA’ hundreds of years ago.”
The brewers spent four years of research and test-batching (including recruiting a “local micro-malthouse” to recreate malt that no longer exists) to get it just right for the first Archetype release in 2016. That backstory becomes empty marketing BS if the beer itself feels less original and more Back to the Future Part III. But that first Archetype batch earned a World Beer Cup gold in the historical category, and Circle has made it an annual release (in 22oz. Bombers and on-tap locally) ever since.
The first pour resembles that high-definition honey, like you might see slowly dripping in a cereal commercial.”
Appearance and Aroma
Life 300 years ago is obviously not that appealing in the face of modern luxuries, but the beer world’s IPA forefathers evidently drank well. Archetype is a downright pretty beer. In a pint glass, the first pour resembles high-definition honey, like you might see slowly dripping in a cereal commercial. And once opened up, Archetype makes it clear this is not another citrus-y modern IPA. It smells earthy, but in a good way—don’t think blue cheese or farmland; think bread and butter.
Archetype’s taste stands out from current hophead favorites, too. This historical IPA is only subtly hoppy. Instead, the beer has a pleasant sweetness accentuated by a touch of lemon. And despite what seeing “7.5% ABV” on the bottle may lead you to believe, Circle has made this historic beer deceptively drinkable.
Within the growing Austin brewery scene, Circle Brewing still qualifies as young, but its profile will inevitably grow within the next 12 months. The brewery recently learned its taproom has the good fortune of being located quite close to a newly proposed MLS stadium where Austin’s first top-tier pro sports team may soon play. Archetype is simply too heady for the city’s traditional college football tailgate activities—luckily, it’s probably enticing enough to soon encourage some Friday night lights fateful to embrace soccer, too.