Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Monkey First IPA

Monkey Fist IPA is brewed by Shipyard Brewing of Portland, Maine. Yes it's not a California beer, but I found it in California at Bel Air. And since they name boldly challenges the Sacramento native Monkey Knife Fight, I had to give it a try.

As the taste craft beer expands, established breweries try to expand as well. I can imagine the market is somewhat limited in Maine, so like many breweries Shipyard hooked up with a national distributor. National distribution can raise the profile of breweries, but with a risk of quality control. Beers that rely on hops for flavor, like an IPA, need to be drank sooner rather than later. Its very difficult for a brewery to control how long a beer sits on a shelf and most places that sell nationally distributed craft beers, like Bel Air, don't think about it.

Shipyard is an East Coast chain of brewpubs and breweries. They also own Sea Dog Brewing Company. Shipyard produces 150,000 barrels a year, putting it in the top 4% of of craft breweries in terms of production.

The aroma has caramel malts and distinct cascade hop profile, although faint. The taste has the caramel malts, some nuttiness, and an under current of piney hops. There's an enjoyable hop bitterness picks up in the end and lingers to round out the malt forward flavor. The mouthfeel is bubbly, a but dry and it has a medium body.

Overall, this is a different and decent IPA. It's self-described as a hybrid of American and English IPAs, which makes sense with the flavors. If you're a fan of English IPAs, they took the tasty English malts and threw in some American hops. It's worth a Try.

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