Tasting: January 28, 2012
A week after the state of the union — here’s the state of beer…For the fourth year in a row, beer consumption in the United States declined — slipping by 1.9% in 2011. Meanwhile, the state of the craft beer market is strong. This higher priced segment of the beer market grew by 1% last year. Industry forecasts say that the trends of declining mainstream beer sales and craft beer growth will continue for at least five years. This prognostication hasn’t slipped past the brain trusts of the big three (InBev AB, SAB Miller, Molson-Coors) as they continue to reach their tentacles into the craft beer market with their own labels, operating agreements and takeovers. Meanwhile, micro and craft breweries are popping up everywhere. According to beernews.org there were about 900 new breweries in some stage of planning in 2011. Existing craft brewers are struggling to keep up with the demand and the big players like Lagunitas, Founders and Bells have expansion plans at various stages. Quite a few craft brewers have decided to pull back their distribution area. Dogfish Head recently pulled out of a number of states and eliminated a number of their labels. In New Jersey – we saw Ballast Point come in with a bang and retreat very quietly last year.
A few weeks ago, New Jersey welcomed a pretty big craft beer brewer to shelves across the state — Port Brewing of San Marcos, California. Port has their own line of beers released under the “Port” flag — but they are most noted for the critically acclaimed Lost Abbey line of Belgian-style ales. If you like Belgian — go treat yourself to a Lost Abbey. Anyway, you probably know that Belgian isn’t my first choice in beer, so I’ m going to go with their flagship beer — Wipeout IPA.
I’m pairing Wipeout IPA with a couple of strip steaks with an applewood rub. Pours a cloudy orange with a very active head. Awesome hoppy aroma. A quick label check tells me that they’ve used some of the big daddies of hop varieties – amarillo, cascade, centennial, simcoe and summit. In particular – amarillo and simcoe are hugely bitter hops. This one has a bright citrus flavor – grapefruit and lemon. Strong hops overpower any malts. Thinnish to medium mouthfeel with building stickiness. This really has the impression of a double IPA — but again, it’s just an IPA with a 7.0% ABV. I’m really enjoying this one and can easily put it at 89 points.
Read my review of Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale Here
Read my review of Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout Post Title
Read my review of Port Mongo Here