Beer1Cheers, bitches!

Welcome back to the weekly Beer Guy…hopefully posted on time this week!

So, we’re already hot and heavy into the festival season, kicking off with the inaugural Washington, DC Beerfest at Nationals Park. Yeah, I was there. One of the perks of the job. It was cold, it was gray, it was almost rainy. But the beer was good, cold, and plentiful. That doesn’t even take into account that the lines tended to be short, and the funk spun by the deejay was…well, retro and awesome.

It was an interesting mix, as well. There were a number of craft breweries represented – staples of the beerfest circuit – but there were also macros present, as well as the faux micros. All in all, it was a pleasant beerfest, with a nice crowd, and with about 80 labels represented, there was a nice variety present – and if you’re like me, and you like trying as much of the local product as you can, but you’re on the Western edge of the Old-Line State, this festival afforded an opportunity to sample beers from some of the Maryland breweries that just are not terribly accessible in our area (I had a lovely, if unusual, brown from Burley Oak in Berlin).

And I, for one, thought it was a nice way to kick off the Craft Brewers Conference in our nation’s capital.

Interesting aside, it wasn’t actually part of the CBC – serendipitously, it occurred before the CBC’s Tuesday kick-off (just before Easter). Now we here in Maryland are waiting on the April kickoff of Annapolis Beer Week, the Pratt Street Real Ale Festival, and, of course, our own Frederick Beer Week. And those are just the events I can think of off the top of my head.

And, as anyone following the social media feeds already knows, tickets to the Beerfest at the Farm go on sale next Monday. Woohoo!

Bitter thoughts

So, as anyone following our Facebook feed already knows, there’s a Huffington Post link to the “15 IPA’s you Need to Try Before You Die.”  I wish to address this list – and, as such, it will take the place of the regularly scheduled “Tapped and Uncapped” segment.

While there are some great beers on the list, some of them are…well…weak, in my humble opinion. For example, in my own humble opinion, Hopslam, for all its hype, doesn’t deserve to be on this list. In my own opinion, while not bad, the Hopslam is not a well attenuated beer; overtly sweet for an IPA. It’s certainly not a bad beer, mind you, but not one that you “need to try before you die.”

For my money, they missed certain key ones from the Mid-Atlantic states and, at the very least, New York.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of which I would eliminate, but I will admit – while I think Dogfishhead does a decent IPA, I don’t think I would throw it into my top 15. In the meantime, I’m just going to provide you with a brief list of the ones I think they definitively missed (in no particular order) –

Bengali Tiger by Six Point in Brooklyn.

Centennial Single Hop Imperial IPA by Flying Dog in Maryland – I have to admit I am preferential to centennial hops.

Fegley’s Hop Explosion, Allentown, PA.

Fegley’s Hopsolutely – yeah, same place.

Eight Point IPA by Devil’s Backbone in Virginia. These guys really know what they’re doing.

Victory’s Hop Devil, Hop Wallop, and Ranch….especially the Ranch and the Hop Devil.

Some honorable mentions might include Heavy Seas Loose Cannon 3, DuClaw’s Hellrazer, and Evolution’s Lot 3 IPA. Don’t believe me, check out the Beer Advocate listings for these beers – all highly rated, and all East Coast.

By the way – not knocking the beers on the list. I’ve had and enjoyed many of them…and for my money, one you should have before you die, even though I  wouldn’t list it in my top ten is Flying Dog’s International Arms Race IPA – a totally hopless IPA – if for no other reason than to say that you have had a hopless IPA. Incidentally, inundated with spruce.

In the meantime, be well and drink good beer.