Homefront IPA is flavored with hops, orange peel, and baseball bats. Yep, genuine, maple Louisville Sluggers. I’d always thought bats were ash, but according to slugger.com, maple “makes it a powerful bat less prone to flaking and one, many players say, that improves their performance.”
Homefront IPA is produced for Memorial Day release by unrelated brewers around the county, banding together with all proceeds donated to local chapters of Operation Homefront – a nonprofit that assists soldiers, vets, and their families with food and financial assistance , auto and home repair, vision care, moving, and more. My beer came from Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing.
But how’s the beer? Really, really nice. On the pint-glass pour, it’s bronze with a tight, white head and an orange, hoppy (of course) aroma that edges into cloves. On first sip, the hops hit right away, expanded on by the orange peel, but there’s also a fullness of flavor that has to be the wood.
It’s definitely a maple essence, but subtler than syrup or maple candy – more like a mellowing of the hops’ harsh edges. That malty biscuit flavor is there too, but I really like what the bats add. The orange peel starts coming through even more as the beer warms a few degrees. Alcohol content is 6.2%, a little higher than your average lager, but Homefront IPA hides the heat.
This is the first novelty ingredient I’ve seen in a while that really works – really makes the beer better instead of just unique. It’s not cheap. My six-pack of cans was $10.99 - but it’s brewed locally (wherever you find it), tastes good, and actually helps some folks a little. That’s not a bad was to end a Sunday.