As I wrote on Wednesday, PORT BREWING/LOST ABBEY fever is sweeping through Northern California this week. No wait, maybe that's just me and my beer dork friends. Well, once the rumor leaked that the Toronado bar had a few special kegs of their wares, which had been hand-delivered by brewmaster Tomme Arthur, I high-tailed it over there on Tuesday night and started samplin'. Also - and you'd better act quick if you live anywhere nearby - but CITY BEER in San Francisco has a few cases of the Lost Abbey Avant Garde, Lost and Found and Red Barn Ale, and Craig Wathen, the store's owner, told me on Wednesday that the Port Brewing folks have talked with him about bringing up more cases to him every month. Who needs a distributor if you can just bomb up the I-5 yourself for nine hours and deliver your beers in person?
Anyway, Toronado has (or had) the LOST AND FOUND and the PIZZA PORT HOP SUEY Double IPA on tap from this fine organization. I had the latter (twice), and I'm a better man for it. With this beer clocking in at over 10% alcohol, the bar felt it necessary to serve it in smaller-than-pint glasses, while charging full price of course. HOP SUEY is outstanding - one of the best big Imperial/Double IPAs going that's not called HOPSICKLE. It has a pine/citrus scent that's more subtle than overwhelming. Don't you just know when a Double IPA is well-crafted, as opposed to thrown-together? I'm starting to. A good one is going to just slide down the gullet and let its flavors sort of tingle and work their way into the contours of your taste buds, where a mediocre one's going to maybe taste "bold" and intense but isn't something you want to sit & relish. You want to drink it fast and consider it done. Well, HOP SUEY is the former for sure - an excellent 9/10, and hopefully one that'll start getting bottled and driven up to NoCal and around the country with some regularity. I promise to keep quiet about Port Brewing's stuff until next week at least, OK?