Yesterday, assorted beer bloggers tackled Alan McLeod's question "what makes you buy a beer" for the monthly session. I didn't participate in that, but it did remind me of a new beer on the scene: Weinhard's IPA. They first released this beer as a seasonal three years ago, and I admired it. Compared to everything else in the line-up, it was an actual craft beer. A bit underpowered for a NW IPA, but a decent beer--and cheap.
(For those of you outside the Northwest, Weinhard is an old brand that used to be brewed on Burnside street in downtown Portland. It survived 143 years, but died in 1999. The brand persists, though, and while nostalgia continues to slowly evaporate, enough people still hold warm feelings for the old brand that it yet survives. It doesn't hurt that a lot of it is contract brewed by Full Sail, making it once again an Oregon-brewed beer.)
The new version will be a year-rounder, and they've futzed with the recipe a bit. They've knocked back the IBUs by two or seven (the earlier version was listed at 45 and 50) but are using a greater variety of hops: Galena, Cascade, and Citra. The beer's a respectable 6%. And, as a Henry's, it will be a lot cheaper than craft beer, even sale craft.
Which brings us back to Alan's question. Price, obviously, is a huge deal. I know more than a few people who wouldn't mind saving a couple bucks a sixer and would find this a more than able compromise on the taste:dollar ratio. I have no idea how well this will sell, but I wouldn't be shocked if it became a dirty little secret stashed in the back of beer geek fridges across the Northwest.
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