Smuttynose IPA named a ‘best beer’

Smuttynose Big A IPA, which is brewed in Portsmouth, has been ranked among the best 25 beers in America by Men’s Journal magazine.

Taking 12th place on the list that appears in the magazine’s October 2006 issue, the Men’s Journal editors called Big A “one of the very few extreme beers we tried that fulfilled the implicit promise these beers make: to deliver more of what you like without screwing it up.”

Peter Egleston, president of Smuttynose Brewing Company, said he was not only pleased one of his brews was selected but that beers are taking their place among other gourmet and artisanal foods.

“What I loved to see with something like this was that such a list exists at all. It’s great that a widely published magazine like Men’s Journal is focusing on specialty beers,” said Egleston.

Despite the growth of the specialty and micro beer market, Egleston said, beer is still trying to overcome a stigma that “large commercial brewers have turned beer into a commodity. Still, nine out of 10 beer drinkers choose a light Pilsner-style beer. We go after that one-out-of-10 beer drinker.”

He describes Smuttynose’s Big A IPA flavor as beginning with a traditional India pale ale style with a light amber color, then raising the body and gravity of it to 8.5 or 9 percent alcohol. It also has a very pleasant, well-rounded malty base backed up by a very high level of hopping.

“This year, David Yarrington, our executive brewer, used 100 percent Pacific Northwest hops,” said Egleston.

The article also thought favorably of the Smuttynose’s Shoals Pale Ale.

“We almost got a two-for-one out of it,” said Egleston. “The Shoals Pale Ale was the first beer I helped to make, so I have a real sentiment for it.”

Smuttynose Big A IPA is available in a limited release during the summer months. — CINDY KIBBE

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