The other night I enjoyed a 22 oz. bomber of double-fermented IPA by the folks at Lagunitas in California and couldn’t shake the feeling of deja vu. Maybe I tried the Maximus IPA during my four-year stay in Colorado Springs, a microbrewing nirvana where most everything comes in a 22-oz. bomber. Probably not, Lagunitas only makes the Maximus for one month in the year and I don’t even know whether it was on the menu in ’99. The tan, medium-sized head retreated to a thin film and released a nose of slight caramel and serious hops, nudging my memory a bit more.
The strange thing was that the Maximus IPA did not remind me of any particular beer that I have tried, rather it reminded me of dozens at once. Despite being double-fermented the Maximus was more bitter than sweet, more hops and alcohol than malt and yeast protein, more classic American microbrew than Belgian dubbel.
In my view (and my palate
couldn’t taste its way out of a paper bag lacks professional training, so take this with a grain of salt), American microbreweries harken back to a taste profile set by the grandaddy of them all and still one of the best, the pale ale from Sierra Nevada (brief history from Wikipedia). Although any brewery producing nearly 700,000 barrels a year is about as ‘micro’ as an Alaskan brown bear, the homebrewers who created Sierra Nevada started small and created a demand for the slightly-overhopped, medium-high ABV brews that thousands of American microbrews have since been more than pleased to fill. In my 22 oz. Lagunitas I tasted the brweing style that seems as authentically American as jazz and the blues. I do not know whether we invented the microbrewers’ rough-edged celebration of hoppiness and ABV but tasting it on tap is a good way to know that one is in the States, assuming that there are no other points of reference other than the inside of a bar. And that you cannot simply ask. Anyhow. Cheers to Lagunitas and American microbrewing in general, however gauche it might seem to do it on a monday. Blame it on work, and company for dinner and cards, and of course blame France. Or Canada.
Say hello to Pandagon’s sex troop. Why they picked a beer post written by me to talk about John’s hotness will remain one of the unsolved mysteries of the universe.