Saturday, October 8, 2011

Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop

Type: IPA
Origin: San Marcos, CA
Price: $5.99/22 oz
ABV: 6.5%

First off, I've never been terribly impressed with Port Brewing. Not that they do anything noticeably poorly that I've had (which, admittedly, isn't all that much, so it's not exactly a fair assessment in the first place), but in a market saturated with super high-quality craft beer, if you're not outstanding, then, well, you don't stand out. But after having the High Tide, it's clear I should give them more time.

I picked this up at BDBS the other day after Sid, the guy running the joint (who is on top of his shit, by the way), gave it an exuberant endorsement. And Sid wasn't lying. This stuff is exceptional. First off, the head. Super frothy, almost like soft-peaked egg whites. It maintained at least an inch of lacing glues to the side of the glass the whole time I was drinking it. Don't think I've ever seen that before. The beer is nice and green like a good San Diego IPA should be, but it's never overwhelming like some of its brethren. And then there's just citrus everywhere, grapefruit in particular, with some nice light malt and caramel to give it some body. Ordinarily, in the spirit of the Non-Snob tradition of maxing out the ABV/$ ratio, I might be inclined to knock this down a peg. But this beer is clearly intended to show off what fresh hops can do, and a higher ABV would probably steamroll your palate before you have any chance to appreciate it. I hope the fresh hop thing catches on on a wider scale, because if this beer is any indication, it's a big step in a very worthwhile direction (I've got another example in the fridge, but more on that later).

Also, Port's got a video up on the making of this stuff. It's pretty cool that once they receive the hops from Washington, they start cranking it out nonstop...and they apparently only have a day or so of advance warning. High marks for dedication to the craft.

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