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
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.
The 4 judges just before the blind tasting of IPA samples at Santas Alitas, Surco.
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.
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.
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.
This is definitely the best version of Ilusionista by Invictus.
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.
Seis Mistis had already left a good impression on our review published in early July.
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
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
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.