Yes, it’s true, Washington State produces some of the best Craft Beers in America, maybe even the world. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t explore what our neighbors to the South are brewing these days. Oregon and California are doing pretty good when it comes to brewing great Craft Beer. In fact, the State of California’s Craft Beer industry has seen record growth in the past five years (13% in 2011). They cannot and will not be ignored. So, in an effort to diversify and to better provide you, the reader with the most well rounded window into the West Coast Craft Beer scene, we take on The Lost Coast Brewery and their Indica India Pale Ale. Based in Eureka, CA, they make a great weekend getaway for Washingtonians, but do they make a great beer. Let’s take a look at what they bring to the party.
The Lost Coast Brewery outlines Indica as a hoppy, citrusy, full-bodied ale. It has a high ABV, so expect a little kick when you’re knocking this one back. The high ABV is balanced by some heavy bittering from Columbus Hops, followed by dry hopping from serious amounts of Willamette and Centennial Hop flowers. In 2003, “All About Beer Magazine” recognized it as one of the world’s “Must Taste Beers”. With backing like that, the Indica IPA was high on my list of must-have beers for the New Year.
In 1986, Barbara Groom, a pharmacist, and Wendy Pound, a family counselor, discovered that they both shared a common love – great beer, and a desire to bring that great beer to the world. They began home brewing, planning, studying, and visiting some of the best pubs in England to find that perfect recipe for the very best brewpub.
In 1989, they purchased the Pythian Castle, a 100-year-old building in Eureka, CA, to house their future brewpub. It had all the makings of a classic pub – history, character and a great story (the original owners were the Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias). They opened their doors in 1990.
The exceptionally clean water of Humboldt County, combined with a year-round temperature of 55 degrees, made it the ideal location for a brewery.
The Lost Coast Brewery is a rare bird. In the male-dominated world of Craft Beer, The Lost Coast Brewery is a 100% female-owned company. The dynamic duo of Groom and Pound took their motivation and turned into one of the most thriving breweries on the West Coast. Today, they are the 33rd largest brewery in America, producing over 50,000 barrels a year and distributing in 22 States, as well as Puerto Rico and three Canadian Provinces. And there’s no end in sight for these two pioneers of brew.
This is a beer to be savored. Because of its high ABV, I couldn’t just knock one back whenever I felt like it…I had to approach it deliberately. As soon as I cracked the seal, I could smell the citrus overtones. Oranges and grapefruits dominated my senses. The pour was thick, producing an abnormally robust head. It was thick and creamy. There is very little effervescence with this brew. The first sip hit me with plenty of hops, as well as a slightly bitter aftertaste. Now I can appreciate a hoptastic brew, but this one is borderline extreme. The lacing was fantastic, leaving me with a nice, easy to enjoy brew.
The funny thing is that as extreme as it was, I found myself coming back to it pretty quickly. It’s well balanced, so you don’t wind up with this bitterness driving you away. Instead, the full-bodied flavor keeps you coming back for more.
8/10 – Well Balanced