As a new American brewery, you soon find out that an IPA or two (or three) needs to be on the menu board. Craft beer fans can’t buy bitterness fast enough even as overall sales start to lose stamina.
Which is how I found myself patriotically sampling six IPAs at Pacific Plate Brewing in Monrovia over the 4th of July holiday. After a short walk from the Monrovia Square Gold Line station, I had two fruit IPAs, a smoked IPA, a DIPA and a Black IPA to taste test. Along with just a regular IPA.
I started first with the two tropical fruited IPAs. Mango has been brewed since the beginning, but the trio behind the brewery – Stephen Kooshian, Jonathan Parada and Steven Cardenas – have now added a Guava IPA. I will admit, the guava was the winner of the two for me. This beer was much brighter and a touch sweeter and paired with the hops a little better.
Then, thinking that I was holding the San Andreas IPA, I took a swig of what turned out to be the South Pacific Smoked IPA. Smokey, it was. Even with that jarring taste though, the beer turned out to be close to one of my favorites. I just needed the hops amped up more and the smoke dialed back a skosh and I would have liked it even more. San Andreas IPA was the odd hop out and I realized that I would have to drink that beer alone, away from the bigger fruit flavors, or the smoke or the bigger beers at the end of the taster tray to properly review it.
Widowmaker DIPA boasted lots of caramel and sugar notes that is ultimately cut by a bitterness that comes in at the end. Black Widow Black IPA started out as British with a dark mild profile at first. Then the hops kick in creating a point and counterpoint between the malts and hops.
It isn’t all hops at Pacific Plate, but they certainly are creating a well-rounded portfolio of IPA sub-styles for the people of L.A. to taste.
The Beer of the Week is ReDANKulous. Founders Brewing has amped up their Red IPA to Imperial levels and added in a spicy tropical mix of hops (Chinook, Mosaic and Simcoe) to over 90 IBUs and a quite high 9.5% ABV. No lawnmower beer here. This is a big Midwestern hop bomb with a touch of sweetness from the malt.
Your Homework is to plan your visit to the newest Bruery outpost in Orange County. Bruery Terruex will have its grand opening tomorrow, July 8, and you can expect a huge crowd and a high demand for the wild and sour ales as the split from The Bruery “proper” is finally completed. Now you can choose to have something sour from the Frucht series like Apricot or Yumberry from the “Earthy Bruery” and their “wildly traditional biere.”
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.