Beer 511

Exploring Craft Beer and Homebrew in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: Beer Reviews Page 1 of 6

Nightshade by Epidemic Ales

When one operates a small craft brewery the vicissitudes of barrel-aging beers means that one cannot foresee with any great anticipation when a such a beer will be released. It will be ready when it is ready, as they say.

Well, yesterday was the release of this year’s batch of Nightshade by Epidemic Ales. I was reminded of why I so much look forward to when this beer comes out.

Nightshade is a 10.3% abv vanilla stout. It is released on tap at the brewery in Concord, CA, and in 22-oz. bottles, about once a year, after spending, if I recall correctly, up to six months or so in Bourbon barrels.

It is a gorgeous beer; intensely dark, with deep mahogany tones, and a moderate head. It doesn’t have any harsh coffee notes or overt bitterness. Instead it is rich and smooth, with notable sweetness, and plenty of vanilla -some undoubtedly contributed by the oak.

With its high alcohol content, Nighshade does pack a punch despite not having any alcoholic or Bourboney “heat”. So, while it goes down easily at any time of day, a 22-ouncer of Nightshade is particularly nice shared as part of a dessert course; specially at this time of year.

Alvarado’s Daiquiri Island

A few days ago Concord’s Hop Grenade Taproom & Bottle Shop played host to Monterey County’s Alvarado Street Brewery.

While Alvarado Street Brewery’s brewers were guest on a broadcast on The Brewing Network at the in-venue studio, a number of taps were dedicated to Alvarado Street’s beers.

It was there that I came across Alvarado Street’s Daiquiri Island.

Now, let it be said upfront, Daiquiri Island is not for everyone.

It is a 5.5% abv kettle-soured ale, made with the addition of lime, lactose, and several thousand pounds of bananas.

It is creamy, like a milkshake IPA. It is sweet, t is tart, it tastes like banana, and it is certainly unique. It is a beer that requires one to put aside pretty much any preconceived notion of what a beer is and is not like.

If you’re a hophead, you’ll likely not quite get it. But, if on the other hand, like myself, you enjoy Runts® candy or Laffy-Taffy®, or if you’re a fan of banana daiquiris you’ll probably really like this beer.

I can’t imagine that it could ever be a regular offering, so if you’re curious, the time to try it would be now.

The 5 Best IPAs Made in Peru

Hi, today, on IPA Day, we are honored to have a guest post from Peru’s foremost beer blogger, José Alberto Castro “El Gourmetógrafo”.

José Alberto also writes beer and cocktail articles for Peruvian food and drink magazines, is an experienced food/drink photographer, a Recognized BJCP judge, and a talented musician.

This article was written specially for today and initially published in Spanish and in English on his blog, TomandoAltura.com.

Long Live IPA 2019

by El Gourmetógrafo 1 August 2019

Megan, born and raised in Connecticut but living in Lima for many years, once told me that every time she went back to her country and ordered an IPA, the bartenders failed to understand what she wanted. The reason, she explained, is that she used the ‘Peruvian way’. In Peru ‘IPA’ rhymes with the British pronunciation for ‘deeper.’ Maybe it was how suddenly the style caught on that made us turn the ÁIY-PIY-ÉY pronunciation into a more approachable ÍYPAH. Whatever the reason, we cannot deny that India Pale Ales became the favorite kind of beer for many because they felt like the exact opposite of the golden and brilliant lagers that smell as boring as an empty glass left to dry on a drain rack. To give the celebrated IPAs the spotlight it deserves in Peru, we have created the first edition of Larga Vida IPA and chosen the 5 best IPAs made in Peru.

mejores IPAs peruanas: Los 4 jueces antes de empezar la evaluación de las muestras en Santas Alitas, Surco.

The 4 judges just before the blind tasting of IPA samples at Santas Alitas, Surco.

This initiative started as part of an interest my friends Mohammed, Olivier, and I share. We had previously gotten together to sample and rate as many Belgian tripels available in Peru. Other beer styles followed using blind tastings. When we were in the middle of discussing the possibility of a new get-together to blind taste IPAs, I came up with the idea of fetching IPAs brewed in Peru using only water, malt, hops, and yeast and publishing the results today precisely on IPA Day. After many much needed phone calls and text messages, 17 Peruvian breweries agreed to send us their samples with no cost neither for them nor for us. Such exciting news encouraged me to register the event to have it sanctioned by the BJCP. In order to give our judging staff another experienced set of taste buds, we managed to convince Megan to join us. She is perhaps the Peru-based beer judge that has participated in the most competitions abroad.

This being a BJCP-sanctioned mini-tournament of American IPAs made in Peru, we must play by the rules. That means we will not publicize the scores given to each beer nor will we reveal the names of the 14 participating breweries —three breweries did not meet the dealine set for sample delivery. Observing the rules, each of the participating breweries will receive the beer score sheets filled out by all four judges including final assigned scores. Without further ado, here are the 5 Best Peruvian IPAs determined through blind tastings by Megan Garrity (Certified BJCP Judge), Mohammed Reza (Certified BJCP Judge), Olivier Díaz (Provisional BJCP Judge), and José Alberto Castro (Recognized BJCP Judge).

5th Place: It is a little funny that my first article on IPAs (Catering & Gastronomía, January 2016) included this beer by Planeta Bierra. Undoubtedly, Diaplipa‘s first appearance in the year 2014 has given this Double IPA not only the chance to position itself among beer drinkers in Lima but also to get better batch after batch. This new version of Diaplipa, you will notice it features a new label, deserves a place on this list due to its intense bitter flavor, its balance between caramelly malts and citrusy and resiny hops, and its powerful dry finish.

mejores ipas peruanas: La Diablipa ha retornado con imagen renovada.

Diablipa has returned with a new presentation.

4th Place: I must say I would have felt weird not to see this beer among the best IPAs from Peru. Inti Punku has been one of my favorites of all times, just like Brewery of the Sacred Valley. So every time I find myself at a taproom, I set the goal of finding a place near the taps, keeping an eye for a proper service, and then enjoying it. As you know, Init Punku is only available in kegs, so Juan and Carlos got out of their way to bottle three samples of this bitter delight filled with assertive flavors of citrus fruits and pine wood.

mejores ipas peruanas: Ésta es definitivamente la mejor versión de la Ilusionista de Invictus.

This is definitely the best version of Ilusionista by Invictus.

3rd Place: If a beer-drinking region such as Cusco deserves a place on this list, it is only fair that the region of Arequipa should have a spot too. Seis Mistis by Melkim proves that the medals that Peruvian beer tournaments have recently awarded to the brewery owned by the Quispe brothers are well deserved. This refreshing IPA brewed in Arequipa has made it to the top three thanks to its dry profile showcasing a great balance between tropical and resiny hops and caramel-scented malts complemented by subtle touches of peaches and apricots.

mejores ipas peruanas: La Seis Mistis ya nos había dejado una buena impresión en nuestra reseña publicada a inicios de julio.

Seis Mistis had already left a good impression on our review published in early July.

2nd Place: I feel more than pleased that another of my favorite IPAs has made it into this select group. Though I must admit this is not the same memorable Cat IPA by 7 Vidas that I tasted on draft at the CAPFest 2015, this IPA made in Tacna is among the best I have tried in the six years I have been drinking good beers. The hand of Marco Málaga, the experienced master brewer that has started to collect medals with his Argentina-based craft brewery Okcidenta, is becoming more and more obvious. I love how intensely this Cat IPA drinks, but I like the hop-driven touches of white onions and garlic even more.

mejores ipas peruanas: La IPA más felina del Perú es la Cat IPA de 7 Vidas.

The most feline IPA in Peru is Cat IPA by 7 Vidas.

1st Place: This beer is also among my favorites from the CAPFest 2015, the year when Invictus released their well-known Alquimista and Ilusionista, the best Peruvian IPA of 2019. And it is the best because its bouquet is tropical and resiny, because its body does not wear out the palate, but most of all because its aftertaste leaves a delicious and long taste of mango skin and because it is so totally easy to drink. In a city so intense as Lima, on a night like the one we will have in just a few hours when so many bars will join the IPA Day celebrations, it does us well to have an American IPA that helps us to leave it all behind and makes us remember all the reasons you also made IPA your favorite beer style.

mejores ipas peruanas: Ésta es definitivamente la mejor versión de la Ilusionista de Invictus.

This is definitely the best version of Ilusionista by Invictus.

All that is left to do is to announce there will be a Larga Vida IPA 2020 and that second edition will allow entries for all IPA styles, old and new. We will have every American IPA, English IPA, session IPA, red IPA, New England IPA, and hoppy beer that Peruvian (and foreign?) craft  breweries and home brewers choose to enter. And remember that if you prefer to celebrate IPA Day drinking these beers at home, La Cerveteca has put together the Larga Vida IPA 4-pack with Ilusionista, Cat IPA, Seis Mistis, and Diablipa. May the night be in your favor.

Cheers!

“Chicha de Mora” by Magdalena (Lima, Peru)

“Chicha de Mora”, from Lima’s Magdalena brewery, is described on the bottle as an “American Wheat Berry and Purple Corn Ale.” The name is a play on two traditional Peruvian corn brews – chicha de jora, which is fermented corn beer made from malted corn (jora), and chicha morada, which is made from boiled purple corn.

Despite the name and ingredients, the beer itself is not purple, but has a lovely orange amber color, with a slight blush of pink; no doubt contributed by the purple corn. It is slightly hazy, which is to be expected from a wheaten ale.

The beer presents a nice, initially rocky, head that soon subsides to a thin layer of small bubbles. There is plenty of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Mild hop aroma, smells “wheaty” but not like a heffeweizen – no banana, bubblegum, or citrus. Well, maybe a little citrus.

Midly effervescent, with moderate hop bitterness. Some pine notes, some grapefruit, both both very light.

In terms of mouthfeel, it is slightly tangy up front, giving way to a residual sweetness at the back end. Maybe an effect of the corn?

5.6% abv, 19 IBU

“Chachapoyana” Honey Kölsch by Sierra Andina

Sierra Andina is a craft brewery from the northern Peruvian Andean city of Huaráz, situated at 10,000 feet above sea level and near the foot of Mt Huascarán, which rises a further 12,00 feet from the valley floor.

In the past Sierra Andina has harkened to that Andean setting for the names and styles of their beers —Don Juan Porter, Pachacuti Imperial Ale, and so on– but this time I am trying a beer for which they have reached beyond the mountains, to the high jungles of Chachapoyas, at the edge of the Amazon basin.

Chachapoyana” is the beer; a 4.5% abv, 26 IBU honey kölsch.

Chachapoyana is a of a yellow, golden color (4-6 SRM, I figure) beer; fairly hazy, but not thoroughly opaque. It has a medium but longlasting effervescence, with “strings of pearls” rising from the bottom for quite a while after serving.

In the nose, the honey addition is evident. There is a slight jora smell as well. In flavor, it is slightly fruity, but I can’t pick out any specific fruits. There is also a teeny tiny tang in the background.

It finishes effervescent, with a very slight mineral finish at the very end, as the beer passes the throat, that you’ll appreciate if you’re a fan of mineral water.

Chachapoyana is light, crisp, and refreshing, as is befitting of a kölsch. This beer goes down very easily.

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