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Old 04-10-2011, 11:23 PM   #1
VoodooManX
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Default West Coast IPA ??

My wife and I attended the Maine Beer Festival yesterday, and got to sample Maine's finest. While we did find some good beer, it was pretty cool to discover that in most cases we preferred our styles to those of even the craft breweries.

I did have the chance to ask some brewers some questions however, and one response made me wonder. I'm going to ask the HBT brain trust on their opinion.

I sampled a local IPA. It was very clear, very crisp, but had very little bitter. It smelled and tasted like fresh hops. I asked the brewer if they did a lot of late additions. He confirmed they did and also that they "dry hop the hell out of it". When I told him I wanted more upfront bite from the bitters he told me that they are going for a "west coast" style IPA, and turned his attention to someone else.

My question is then, do West Coast IPA's taste like an Ale but smell like a freshly opened hop bag? Or is he full of crap and his IPA sucks?

They might be aiming for a larger market as my wife liked the IPA, but normally hates IPA's.

What say ye?



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Old 04-10-2011, 11:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoodooManX View Post
My wife and I attended the Maine Beer Festival yesterday, and got to sample Maine's finest. While we did find some good beer, it was pretty cool to discover that in most cases we preferred our styles to those of even the craft breweries.

I did have the chance to ask some brewers some questions however, and one response made me wonder. I'm going to ask the HBT brain trust on their opinion.

I sampled a local IPA. It was very clear, very crisp, but had very little bitter. It smelled and tasted like fresh hops. I asked the brewer if they did a lot of late additions. He confirmed they did and also that they "dry hop the hell out of it". When I told him I wanted more upfront bite from the bitters he told me that they are going for a "west coast" style IPA, and turned his attention to someone else.

My question is then, do West Coast IPA's taste like an Ale but smell like a freshly opened hop bag? Or is he full of crap and his IPA sucks?

They might be aiming for a larger market as my wife liked the IPA, but normally hates IPA's.

What say ye?
What makes a good West Coast Style IPA is having a good hop flavor all the way through the beer, not just a fresh hop finish.

I would say he doent know what he's talking about. I have recently been up and down the left coast and had many different IPA's from Frisco to Portland and have found there to be a noticable hop prescence right off the bat. That's what the style guidlines call for and that's what makes for a good IPA


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Old 04-10-2011, 11:57 PM   #3
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I love beers with tons of late additions and dry hops, but with reasonably low IBUs. Excellent summer beers. I've heard that AleSmith does some (most? all?) beers with only hops in the last 20 minutes. As far as the term "west coast IPA," the west coast is known for both really bitter IPAs and not so bitter IPAs, so I'm not sure I like the term.

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Old 04-11-2011, 12:03 AM   #4
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I love IPA and IIPA. I tend to prefer West to East coast varieties. IMHO West Coast is more bitter, bigger hop flavor and bigger hop aroma than the East Coast varieties. So more hops at every addition. I've been disappointed with East Coast IPA/IIPA. But Smuttynose Big A IPA and several Rock Art Brewery beers are changing my mind.

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Old 04-11-2011, 02:25 PM   #5
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Which brewery was it? As a Mainer, homebrewer and lover of smack-you-in-the-face IPAs I can say that most Maine breweries go for an English style IPA but will occasionally dry hop with a C-hop and call it "West-coast" style IPA. If you want good IPAs from a Maine brewery, Marshall Wharf, Sebago and Peak Organic are my three favorites in that order. Marshall Wharf, while only around for about 3-4 years has an amazing portfolio of brews but very limited distribution. If you are in Maine, take a trip to Belfast and visit the brewpub (3tides). Try the Cant Dog IIPA, you won't be disappointed!

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Old 04-11-2011, 03:01 PM   #6
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I like West Coast (of Michigan) IPAs - Bells Two Hearted and Founders Centennial IPA immediately come to mind.

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoodooManX View Post
I asked the brewer if they did a lot of late additions. He confirmed they did and also that they "dry hop the hell out of it". When I told him I wanted more upfront bite from the bitters he told me that they are going for a "west coast" style IPA, and turned his attention to someone else.
If he didn't ask your opinion, I wouldn't have given it to him. I would've turned my attention elsewhere too if I got some unsolicited advice from a random at a beer fest.
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:06 PM   #8
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The only Maine made beers I have ever tasted that could be considered "West Coast Style" have all come from the new nano, The Maine Brewing Company (all awesome by the way).

That's my guess - I would love to hear if I am right.

I'll hold my next comment about the beer until my guess is confirmed, because if your comments were about their Peeper Ale, I may be able to shed some more light.

Joe

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Old 04-12-2011, 10:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewThruYou

If he didn't ask your opinion, I wouldn't have given it to him. I would've turned my attention elsewhere too if I got some unsolicited advice from a random at a beer fest.
Isn't the point of being at a beer festival to get feedback on your beer? (as a brewer).

I don't have a problem giving my opinion to anyone, and it was an opinion shared by many who enjoy IPA's. I am afterall his target market. I also told him what I liked about it as well. It wasn't like I was just telling him his beer sucked. The clarity was awesome.

I didn't ask your opinion on whether I should have told him what I thought of his beer


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Old 04-12-2011, 10:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfowler1
The only Maine made beers I have ever tasted that could be considered "West Coast Style" have all come from the new nano, The Maine Brewing Company (all awesome by the way).

That's my guess - I would love to hear if I am right.

I'll hold my next comment about the beer until my guess is confirmed, because if your comments were about their Peeper Ale, I may be able to shed some more light.

Joe
It was Baxter brewing. They just opened in january in lewiston. Maine Beer Company wasn't in attendance, sadly because I have heard great things.

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