Drinkers on this side of the Atlantic may be familiar with some of their distinctive bottled beers which grace many beer festivals and the better stocked bars and pubs. Over here to explain their philosophy-good people drink good beer, bad people drink bad beer, and answer questions were brewmaster Matt Brophy and CEO Jim Caruso. Both were enthusiastic and coped admirably with an increasingly rowdy audience.
Of the beers, three bottles were sampled. First up was Doggie Style, a 5.5% Pale Ale. This was well-balanced with the Cascade hops giving it a nicely rounded dry-hop finish. Next was the Belgium IPA, Raging Bitch. Again this was very drinkable for its strength and the Columbus and Amarillo hops complemented the Belgium yeast perfectly.The third bottle-Double Dog-a double IPA, was more problematic. Despite being aggressively hopped with Cascade and Columbus, there was no mistaking the alcohol in this 11.5% effort. This made it slightly harder to neck than I usually like my beers, but an interesting beer, nevertheless.
However, the best was yet to come. We were treated to a cask version of their Single Hop Centennial Imperial IPA. This was copper in colour with lots of floral and herbal hops, plus a little citrus, in the aroma. Taste was excellent and although you could tell it was strong, the hop bitterness really cut through the sweetness to give a long, satisfying finish.
It really was a cracking pint and further proof that cask conditioning can work with strong IPAs. We had two surprises with this beer: Firstly when we were told it was 10%-it didn’t seem like it. And secondly, when we went downstairs and found it on sale for £8 a pint. Yes, Manchester has seen its first £8 cask pint. Now, whose round was it...?
So another great evening at Port St. Well done to everyone concerned.