Tasting: July 29, 2011
Style: IPA (Imperial)
The craft beer movement has exploded — that represents both good news and bad news. The good news is that brewers recognize the growing business opportunity and will push the boundaries of beer to stand above everyone else. Think back to having your first Sam Adams and realizing how different it was as compared to other beers. Now look at how ordinary that same Sam Adams has become because other brewers have leapfrogged the frontier further along. On the bad side, supply can’t meet up with demand and brewers are cutting back their distribution area. Dogfish Head dropped distributing their lines in several states. I haven’t seen Ballast Point’s Sculpin and Big Eye on NJ shelves in some time – I can’t say for sure, but this may be another victim of distribution versus demand.
As far as I know, Avery is a recent addition to NJ shelves. I’ve been intrigued with their dictator series and the sight of an imperial IPA certainly peaked my interest. This one is “Maharaja” — or “highest king”. From the label and OG of 1.090 (that’s rich) with an IBU of 102 (nice) and an ABV of 10.46% — that’s some really some nice vitals. The pour is a rich reddish brown and abundant with grapefruit and pineapple aroma. Beautifully followed by a malty backbone. The first few sips reminds me of the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Ale I had last night – however that one was clearly ahead of this one. On the plus side – really nicely balanced and full of flavor and full of stickiness. On the minus side a little boozy, and surprisingly not as thick as I had expected. Since I’m comparing this against SN’s 30th (93 points), this one comes in right behind at 91 points.