Gigantic Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon is one of the newest entrants in one of American's most mature craft beer markets. And they're succeeding on the back of an IPA. It's an uncanny story in an industry that's becoming more competitive by the minute, and inviting prognosticators to call an end to the craft beer wave — "The saturation point" as they call it. But healthy competition is what put this industry in a better position than ever to succeed. And on Episode 1 of the GBH Podcast last week, one of Gigantic's founders, Van Havig gave us the economic rundown of exactly why that's good news.
And so we have the Gigantic IPA, perfectly crafted for what Van calls the "American-Anglo Genre." In Portland, as in much of the rest of the country, an IPA is table-stakes.
This one is bright and juicy, mostly in the citrus vein that signifies an American third wave hop profile, but finishes a little tropical. A beautiful copper orange color, fluffy head, and a clean, slightly toasty finish.
WHY THIS BEER MATTERS
Van Havig, co-founder
I like to joke that in Oregon they won't give you a brewing license unless you brew an IPA. The thing is, it really is sort of de rigueur if you're going to make your mark around here. Obviously you could only make farmhouse or sour beers, but there's always that nagging question of "sure they can blend or use spices or whatever - but can they make a good IPA?" Whether that attitude is right or wrong is beside the point. If you're going to make beers in what I call the "Anglo-American Genre", an IPA is what you'll be judged on. So when we started the brewery, Ben and I knew that the only beer we wanted to make all the time was an IPA - it was a flag to plant. We also wanted it to be a beer we both really wanted to make and drink, so early in the planning process for the brewery, when we got sick of looking at spreadsheets, we'd talk about what we wanted the IPA to be. We realized that we didn't want to bias each others hop selections, and that we wanted to see what the other was thinking. Please note, this really happened - this is not an apocryphal tale. We decided we'd go home and each write down the hops we wanted to use on a piece of paper and then show each other at our next meeting. When we had our reveal, Ben had chosen Magnum to bitter and Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and Simcoe as the finish hops. The only difference I had was that I chose Nugget to bitter - our flavor and aroma hop choices were identical. We realized right then that we'd work really well together on recipe choices.
WHERE TO GET IT
The IPA is Gigantic's only year-round offering to-date, most often in 22oz bottles for about $5-7 bucks all around Oregon.
Also easy to find in Washington, California, British Columbia, Alaska, Vermont, Chicago, Hato’s Bar in Tokyo and Brew Dog Bars in Europe.