Beer becoming less regional, more national
on 01/12/10 at 1:59 pmBeer
Travel posts are always hard. Most of my readership lives on the West Coast, so it matters little what amazing beer I drink when I’m in New England. Anyone who happens to have access to the beer I discuss, however, doesn’t need my Johnny-come-lately evaluation. So rather than just going through the beers, let’s put it in context: how are the beers of the East Coast evolving with regard to those on the West Coast?
I first started visiting New England in the 90s, and the beer I found there was different from West Coast beer. It was more traditionally English–the beer styles were mostly English and brewed at English strengths and with English-inflected spicy hopping. This may have been because I was influenced by the especially British Maine breweries, Gritty McDuff’s, Shipyard, and Geary’s. But even in other regional breweries, where Cascade hops were deployed, the overall character was much more toward balance and drinkability. Harpoon IPA, one of my faves, is a modest 5.9% and 42 IBUs (all Cascade). This struck me as totally appropriate–New England has much about it that reminds me of old England, and so I was pleased to see the beer did, too.