More and more beer dorks are succumbing to the inter-continental siren song of beer trading and stash-it-in-your-luggage beer transportation; thus, I’ve been able to taste beers this past year that I never thought I’d get to try without making a special and deliberate pilgrimage to other states. Two IPAs completely unavailable on the west coast recently graced my taste buds, one from Pennsylvania and the other from Maryland. I shall dissect them for you presently.
First up was the very subtly named HOP-OCALYPSE from a hitherto-unknown-to-me brewery called CLAY PIPE BREWING straight outta Westminster, Maryland. I gave this one high marks for drinkability – a gentle IPA, with not a small amount of hops, which we generally are in favor of here. Yet the beer gets knocked down a couple pegs for simple, unadulterated blandness. When it’s hard to think of anything to say about beer, even when three opinionated fellas are consuming it, you know it’s probably right there in the middle of the road. As one person on Beer Advocate said, “OK, but there are so many other nice IPAs out there”. As another said, “It's not bad, but it's not great either. It really needs more hop flavor and more flavor in general. Give it a try if you want, although I'd recommend seeking out a better alternative”. My thoughts exactly. 6/10.
The WEYERBACHER HOPS INFUSION fared a little better. When I listen to the CRAFT BEER RADIO podcast, I hear those guys talking about WEYERBACHER BREWING like they are the de facto standard microbrew around where they live in Pennsylvania, sort of like Anchor Steam or Sierra Nevada is around my parts. This amber-ish IPA had more bold flavor than the Clay Pipe IPA did, with a decided floral scent and a nice juicy backbone. Very “west coast”, if I may, with more balance in the sense that it is a very simple IPA and not overpowering in the least. Reminds me some of the LAGUNITAS IPA. If it’s possible to “session” with an IPA, this would be a good one, though I’d prefer one just a little more robust – maybe that BALLAST POINT BIG EYE IPA would fill the bill. Let’s go with 6.5/10. What do you east coasters have to say?