Three Weavers is hitting us with (3) IPA’s in the 3rd month of the year. After having Expatriate IPA for the first time in a long while, I am intrigued by the West Coast, Light Trails the most but if you like Pineapple, that could work well too.
Let’s stay local and stay hoppy. We will start in San Gabriel and then head to Hawthorne for the bigger IPA’s.
Ogopogo / Hafgufa 5.80% ABV
“Hazy Pale Ale. Hafgufa is the Icelandic name of a massive sea monster reported to have existed in the Greenland Sea, which was said to disguise itself as an island or pair of rocks rising from the sea. Hafgufa was the mother of all sea monsters and fed on whales, ships, humans, and anything it could catch.”
L.A. AleWorks / Digimax 7.50% ABV
“Ella, Citra and Ahtanum lend notes of floral orange, pineapple and dank guava that make for an easy drinking Juicy IPA.”
Common Space / Random and Dangerous 8.40% ABV
“Monstrous citrus and tropical flavor and aroma from over six pounds per barrel of hops snap you awake from your boring beer stupor.”
All of these beers can be found at Sunset Beer Co. (unless they got bought up real quick)
Figueroa Mountain has expanded their canned offerings and for the first of two “doubled-up” reviews, I re-taste Hoppy Poppy IPA and Lizard’s Mouth DIPA for the first time from cans and for the first time in quite a while.
First up is Hoppy Poppy IPA which pours a real dark orange. On the nose is a soft orange blossom aroma but this tastes much stronger than a normal, regulation IPA. There is a really strong malt backbone to this beer along with some pine notes that lurk in the background.
Next is Lizard’s Mouth DIPA which also sports an orange aroma but this is more hearty than just a blossom. There is heavier alcohol with a bit of burn to it putting this closer to a Barleywine in my book. The Lizard also holds a big malt presence and it is bitter but more in a radicchio way.
From these two examples, it appears that FigMtn is just upleveled hop wise which would make a Session IPA more in the IPA realm. Of the two, I like the Poppy a bit better due to the less heavy presence.
I have a pair of early April Fool’s suggestion. Granted they will most certainly infuriate Whale Hunters but they REALLY need their protective bubble burst.
I need a brewery to create a mock-up of a label for cans of a new hazy IPA. No need to brew one. Then tweet out a thanks to all the customers who came in to buy cans earlier in the day with a photo of said can.
I will sit in the tap room as people roll in and pretend to finish off the last can with empties at my table for added effect. Anyone who comes up to me and asks for a can will get a coupon for a $1 off an experimental hopless amber ale or a sticker that says that they are an April Fool.
I say this after reading this ARTICLE in the NY Times from Joshua Bernstein about waiting in line for can releases.
My second April Fool’s idea is to heavily promote an IPA can release for 4/1 and then at the last minute say that the IPA didn’t meet rigorous standards but that there will be cans of an Abbey Single on sale.
Just to see who stays in line and which are paid line dudes (yes, it is almost always “dudes”) and, of course, to see who gets the joke.
We have reached the 2nd stop pulled from the book Complete IPA – The Guide to Your Favorite Craft Beer, Great Notion Brewing of Portland, Oregon.
What a combo! Great Notion Brewing is next to a Pine State Biscuits. Now if only there were apartments right above.
GNB is a 7 Barrel brewery plus tap room in N.E. Portland which is appropriate since they “focus primarily on juicy New England-style IPA’s and creative sour ales”..
As you will see from my choices, they don’t stop there. Really cool fun fact: they age some of their beers in clay amphoras.
Instead of starting with their lauded hoppy ales, let’s go breakfast first, then finish with more breakfast for the initial taster flight….
Blueberry Muffin Sour Ale
This Blueberry sour will remind you of your Grandma’s freshly baked blueberry muffins!
Mandela (with Nelson) IPA
Mandela (w/ Nelson) is an IPA brewed with Citra, Mosaic and dry-hopped 100% with Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand.
Over-Ripe is an experimental IPA brewed with Azacca, Simcoe, Columbus & Motueka hops. We get loads of overripe fruit like cantaloupe, honey dew, and papaya.
Juice Box Double IPA
Bursting with pungent American hops, with aroma’s of peach, mango, and passion fruit. Juice Box is brewed with over 4 pounds of hops per barrel, but the creamy smooth mouth feel and mellow bitterness makes this Double IPA dangerously drinkable.
Double Stack Stout
Imperial Breakfast Stout brewed with Clutch coffee and Vermont maple syrup.
Not only does Blue Palms have a BIG anniversary party coming up, but they also found time to do their Flip-Flop fest of Port Brewing beers, named after the iconic logo that double as footwear.
Following BSP procedure, I arrived near opening time to best find a stool and have a full slate of choices. Such as…..
Once You Go Blackberry Saison w/ Blackberries – Gnomercy Belgian IPA – Flyin Hawaiian Hef – Trashkannon Brown Ale – California Honey Blonde Ale – Kung Fu Elvis Strong Ale – Way Heavy Scotch Ale – La Flama Dorado Belgian Triple – May the Port be With You Imperial Stout – Rocky Top American Stout – Dust til’ Dawn Imperial Coffee Porter – Red Leader Imperial Red Ale – Beer Monkey IPA – New Break Pale Ale – Chronic Amber Ale – Ponto Session IPA – Kook Double IPA – Pick Six Hoppy Pilsner
(That list are the ones that I didn’t try off the tiki themed tap handles)
Here is the report:
Saison Persuasion was my first choice, I was beguiled by the Yuzu and peppercorns and I was let down, the beer was a little harsh on the palate and there was barely any peppercorn or yuzu or even ginger to be found.
So I went with a taster flight of (4) fruit IPA’s
Well three at least, the One Love was a Mandarina Hop and it was the weakest of the quartet. Coming in at number 1 was the Haole passion fruit IPA which had a big and bold aroma that was almost too much but the beer itself was super well balanced bitter and fruit in equal amounts then at # 2 was Grapefruit Puncher which also had an excellent aroma and really brought the citrus. The Lono Mango was only third because the other two were so great.
I finished up with County Line Pub Ale on Nitro which was quite solid. Super smooth. Nice malt texture to it and a perfect hop antidote. Plus, it looked super cool in the glass.
You saw these Modern Times beers in bottles or on tap, now they will be canned too. And on a schedule….
I missed out on City of the Sun so I will be looking forward to this time next year for that one. But first I will be grabbing as much Oneida as I can.
Justin’s Brew Review is the host for the July edition of The Session and he turns the focus to the India Pale Ale….
“For quite some time now, I’ve been wondering what makes the India Pale Ale (IPA) style of beer so popular. Don’t get me wrong–I thoroughly enjoy it and gladly participate in #IPADay. I’m just wondering, why all the hype? What is it about an IPA that makes craft beer enthusiasts (CBE) go wild? Is it because CBEs want to differentiate craft beer from crap beer? I don’t care if a watered-down pilsener is labeled as “triple-hops brewed”; it wouldn’t satisfy someone looking for an IPA.”
At a recent craft beer event that paired brewers with coffee roasters, I had the honor of pouring for Eagle Rock Brewery. Their special coffee tap was called Panama Pale Ale, a Panamanian coffee infused Rye IPA. Call it PPA for short.
By my standards it was not too bitter. More coffee and rye than hops and quite tasty with a lovely coffee bean aroma. And it was one of the more popular beers if the people I was pouring for were to be believed.
So, even at a coffee-centric beer event, an IPA took center stage.
I can see why amber beers were popular once upon a time when it was still called micro-brews. They appealed to a bigger percentage of our small craft beer population. They are usually not over the top in terms of ABV or IBU. They showcase malt and thus have a little more sweetness (and we know Americans like their sweets). They are certainly closer, taste-wise to the lagers that most people know than an IPA ever will be.
It is amazing how fast that the India Pale Ale has grabbed the spotlight in the world of craft beer despite what I would consider pretty major hindrances to that happening:
1. Bitterness is considered by the palate as a bad sign.
2. And even if that is not an impediment, some IPA’s still destroy seasoned hopheads palates
3. Hops (especially popular varieties) can be hard to come by and expensive.
4. The market for IPA’s is now extra crowded.
5. May require extra equipment to dry hop.
6. Really need to be drunk fresh.
7. Sometimes confusing names like Black IPA or White IPA
8. Sometimes confusing IBU levels. A DIPA from one brewery may be a regular IPA to another.
Then add to the mix all the history behind how the IPA “style” became what it is today plus account for all the tiny to large regional American differences, and the rise of the IPA is even more amazing.
And I have no idea why it took off so much except for some half-baked theories:
1. I have heard from many brewery folk that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was a formative beer in their appreciation of craft beer. Maybe that is a root cause for the love of IPA’s.
2. IPA’s are the IBU opposite of the BMC industrial water lagers and doing the opposite of what the big 3 did is not to be underestimated as a reason.
3. America has developed a taste for different coffee’s (some quite bitter) so an appreciation of bitter IPA’s may be a side effect of that revolution.
My hope is that the brewers and drinkers don’t just lock onto mega hop bombs and search out XPA’s and dry hopped pilsners and pale ales that are actually hopped like a pale ale. Because a world with only arrogant palate wrecking bastards is only slightly better than a world with watery lagers.
Thankfully, barrel aged beers seem to be balancing out the craft beer scales amongst beer geeks, so I am not overly worried of an IPA take-over but I do wish there were more cask ales and Czech style pilsners out there and if I get a second wish, I certainly hope to see more non-IPA best sellers. I will always see Fat Tire as the New Belgium flagship. No matter how good Ranger is.
On Friday June 14, it is the Hoppy Daze of Summer IPA Fest and Poolside Beer Dinner starts at 6:30 pm at the Four Points Sheraton near LAX
The Price $40 (2 extra tasting chips with the Twitter Code)
Tastes of 12 Hoppy Beers – Sessionable, Big, & Huge
Alesmith Summer Yulesmith Double IPA
Avery Twenty XX India Pale Ale
Flying Dog Imperial Citra
Anderson Valley Heelch O’ Hops
Clown Shoes Muffin Top Trippel IPA
Mystery – You’re going to love this one!
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
Uinta Hop Notch IPA
Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA
Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet
2 more special bottles
Tomato, Watermelon, Cucumber & Jicama Salad
with Mango Vinaigrette
Potato Salad with Grilled Red Onion & Basil Mayo
Chipotle Baked Beans
Grilled Zucchini with Balsamic & Parmesan
Bourbon Glazed Salmon with Roasted Pineapple
Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri