Beer 511

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

Category: IPA

Finishing Beer Week with PTY

After sampling some lovely offerings from breweries around the area, I finished out my SF Beer Week experience by making the pilgrimage to Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa from some of the celebrated Pliny the Younger.

First brewed in 2005, Pliny the Younger triple IPA has been released for two weeks only each year, in the month of February. People come for it from around the country, and further afield, and lines often snake around the block.

This year two developments conspired to make me decide to bite the bullet and make the trip for the first time: one, the opening last year of the larger production brewery and pub in Windsor, has reduced waiting times overall (even though they could still be ridiculously long!); and, secondly, that for the first time ever, Russian River had decided to bottle Pliny the Younger and each patron was entitled to purchase up to two bottles per visit.

The prospect of having one to take home, to extend the experience, and -more importantly- one to send to my daughter and son-in-law, beer lovers both, tipped the scales. So, off I went, to downtown Santa Rosa on Sunday evening of Presidents Day weekend.

The line was, to my relief, not too long. I got in line at 5:25 pm, and an hour and a half later, I was close enough to reach out and touch Russian River’s building. It took another hour and half to get in the door, though. More than I had hopped for, but three hours is generally regarded as a tolerable wait, indeed as a relatively short one–and besides, after a while one has put in enough minutes that one feels committed to seeing it through!

I had my first taste of Pliny the Younger last year, at an event at The Hop Grenade in Concord (CA), but to have it, fresh from the tap, where it was born, was something else.

Pliny the Younger is not just a triple IPA. It is the first triple IPA. Pliny the Younger is the standard by which the style was defined. Despite the insane amounts of malt that must go into it, it finishes dry, and is so drinkable. It is easily, the most drinkable triple IPA I’ve had.

Among a growing field of impressive triple IPAs -Heretic’s Evil 3, Danville Brewing’s Tres Diablos, Epidemic’s Cataclysm, to name just a few local regional examples- Pliny the Younger continues to stand out.

So, was standing in that line worth it? Yes, definitely. It was.

Would I do it again? I thought not, but yesterday, when I popped open my remaining bottle, my resolve on that kind of quavered …

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!

Extra Extra

Extra Extra Double Brut India Pale Ale was one of the beers that I brought back from North Carolina.

It is not made in North Carolina -or maybe it is? Stillwater Artisanal is an itinerant brewing operation. In a variant of the contract-brewing model, Stillwater -headquartered in Baltimore- rents out unutilized brewing and fermentation space from bricks-and-mortar breweries. Stillwater’s brewers then travel to those locations in order to brew, whether it be in the United States or even other countries.

Extra Extra is a pretty beer. It is a beautiful yellow, golden color, with straw notes. It is hazy but not opaque, and not thick or “juicy”-looking. Upon pouring it produces a finger or two of white head, composed of myriads of small bubbles.

In the nose, I got a pleasantly fruital aroma, with notes of white grape, guava and mango. The fruital character continues in the flavour. I addition to more notes of white grape, I got Meyer lemon zest and conifer. It is moderately bitter for an IPA, specially a double IPA.

Though it is not as dry nor as effervescent as other examples -perhaps from being a double- it is still pretty light despite having 8% abv. Very drinkable indeed.

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