Wednesday, July 9, 2008

MORE Beers We Can't Get Here

I know I keep doing this to you, but I just can't help it. I have a few more beers to tell you about that I recently acquired that, no, you can't get in Albuquerque. Unless you come to my house.

Think of this as a guide for you to use when you are traveling to another city. These particular beers, for instance, came from Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ. That place has an amazing selection, not just of American micros, but a whole room dubbed "The Iron Curtain" dedicated just to Eastern European beers. They carry many brands that we can't get here in Albuquerque. Check it out if you are ever in the area.

You may have heard of DogfishHead 90 Minute IPA before. It has garnished much hype in national publications such as Esquire, in which 90 Min. was named the "Best Beer in America". I don't know about that, but I do think it is the best product to ever come out of Delaware. I used to think it was Grotto's Pizza, but that was when I was a teenager and I hadn't tried beer yet. 90 Minute is a malt-forward beer that is quite smooth for a double IPA. This is not a West Coast style IPA by any means, but almost reminds me of a barleywine. Then again, the bolling date was 3/18, so it has been around long enough that the hops may have dissipated some. At 9%, the malt tastes sweeter as the beer warms up, so I like to drink this one cold.

Another DogfishHead beer, this one a summer release: Aprihop, a hybrid apricot ale/IPA. Now there's an interesting combo. There are a few companies out there offering apricot flavored beers, such as Pyramid, Kennebunkport, and most notably Magic Hat and their super-popular #9. Well, it is super-popular back east. Once they take over Pyramid, we may see it out here. Aprihop is the first hoppy apricot beer I have come across, and it is no surprise that DogfishHead is the one to merge the styles. Name another brewery that makes a beer with ingredients from each continent!

Left Coast Brewing is the bottling line of the Oggi's Brewpub chain out of San Diego. This here is the only one I have ever obtained, the 9.4% Left Coast Hop Juice Double IPA. I love the name and the label, but the beer was missing something- most notably hops. I think time was working on this before I got to it, I'm afraid. Otherwise they should have called it Malt-O-Meal. I'll try to get some on tap one day and let you know if there is a major difference.

Keeping in the San Diego region and the pizza/brewpub chain motif we have Port Brewing's Hop 15 Double IPA. Port Brewing was born from the Pizza Port brewpubs in San Diego. They made such great beers that the demand built them up so much that they now have the Port Brewing line along with a whole Belgian style line under the Lost Abbey name.

Hop 15 is so named for the 15 different types of hops used in the brewing process. That's a whole lotta hop love! Although with the way hop prices have risen, if I were the brewer I might try to add two or three less hops and see if anyone notices. This is one of my favorite double IPAs out there. At 10%, you'd think the alcohol would hurt the drinkability but not at all. The hops are way forward here, with the malt coming along just to add some alcohol. Get this one if you can!
What, that wasn't hoppy enough for you? Ok , how about a "Triple Hoppy" Moylan's Hopsickle Imperial IPA! This was the gold medal winner at the 2007 Great American Beer Fest, and it may be the most bitter beer I have ever had. In fact, I don't want to drink the whole thing by myself. Don't get me wrong; I like it, but it is hard to get down a whole 22 oz. It's not the 9.2% alcohol, but the constant pounding my tastebuds are taking from the massive onslaught of hops! I know that must sound blasphemous from someone who considers himself such a hophead, but I'm a pussy.

Our final beer is another Southern California native: AleSmith Brewing's Speedway Stout. How delicious does a 12% stout brewed with coffee beans sound to you? Alright, I'll ask you again when it isn't 90 degrees outside. Even now, I'm surpressing the urge to take a swig out of the 25.9 oz bottle. This goodness doesn't come cheap; at $11.49 each, I could only allow myself one bottle. I think I am going to open it on the night of the first snowstorm this winter.

There is a whole world of beers out there waiting for New Mexicans to discover. Now get on the road and start drinking!

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