Eric Lafferty — a multi-medal winner at two homebrew competitions — was at the Beer Army Outpost in New Bern, N.C., last week showing off some of his winners. One of his beers, the Vintage Hall Black IPA, will be featured at Front Street Brewery in Wilmington.
A brief excerpt from his resume:
In the Front Street Brewery — Best in Show: Imperial Black IPA, Silver: Czech in the Box Pilsener, Silver: Belgifornia Blond, Silver: Merikan Stout, Gold: Imperial Black IPA, Bronze: Hop Grenade IPA.
In the Lonerider — Best in Show: Gunsmoke Oakmeal Porter, Gold: Gold Rush Belgian Blond, Gold: Winter Trailblazer Sweet Potato Ale, Gold: Gunsmoke Oakmeal Porter, Gold: Pancho Villa Weizenbock.
I was able to try one of his beers last week – the Hop Grenade IPA. Lafferty knew I was an IPA snob, but bravely offered this selection for my critique. I had it right out of his beer bag, which was one step removed from his homebrew room.
Appearance (15%) – Pours cloudy, rusty copper orange with a foamy head that has good staying power but doesn’t get in the way of that first sip.(90% of 15 = 13.5)
Aroma (20%) – Hop grenade is right. The floral aroma hits you right from the first sniff. It’s such a powerful aroma, it leaves you hoping the flavor of the beer lives up to it. And … (90% of 20 = 18)
Flavor (50%) – … it does. It has a strong citrus hop feature up front and isn’t over-balanced with too many competing malt flavors. (90% of 50 = 45)
Bite (10%) – It’s a pure American IPA that seems much stronger on the tongue than its 6.4% ABV would suggest. You’d have no problem convincing most drinkers it was a DIPA, but it’s extremely drinkable and could last several rounds. (85% of 10 = 8.5)
Bumper (5%) – As a homebrew, it would stand up to any beer of its kind from a professional mico-brewmaster. There were no impurities noticeable and no inconsistencies in the drink. (100% of 5 = 5)
Final Verdict (90) – A- (90-92, Worth the few extra bucks, especially for a special occasion).
To see The Man F.A.Q. Beer Review Guide, click here.