By Jim Cyphert, Mahoning Valley Flight Crew
As the Mahoning Valley Flight Crew continues to get more immersed in the local craft beer scene, we’re finding there are some truly wonderful people in this business.
One of those folks is R.L. Lipton Distributing’s Vice President of Sales and General Manager Ed Carissimi. When the Flight Crew has had a question or needed support, Ed's been there — every time.
We value Ed’s opinion, and Ed values ours. That’s why he asked the Flight Crew to sample some of Lipton’s latest craft beer introductions for the spring — some from breweries Lipton already represents and some that are brand new to the Valley.
Ed and his team understand that brand loyalty among craft beer drinkers is virtually non-existent. We love to try new things. Ask us what our “go-to” beer is, and we’ll struggle to find an answer. That makes distributors’ jobs tough.
“It’s challenging to know exactly what the market wants,” Ed said. “And what craft beer drinkers want today likely will be a little different than what they’ll want tomorrow. We constantly scan the industry to bring just the right mix of products here for Valley craft beer lovers to enjoy. We have to evolve.”
Based on the experiences of the Flight Crew the past several months, Lipton is doing a fine job.
The distributor’s latest wave of craft beers coming into the Valley just so happens to match the number of Flight Crew members — six. How convenient!
Here are the Flight Crews thoughts on these new brews:
Jim Cyphert — Apocalypse IPA (ABV 6.8 percent, IBU 70) — Brewed by 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, Oregon
“When I popped the cap, I knew this IPA was my cup of tea. This West Coast-style IPA has a hop forward aroma and flavor, and it’s a beautiful golden color. The brewery says this beer has a ton of flavor. That’s because it’s brewed with 4.8 pounds of eight different hop varieties. This is considered one of 10 Barrel’s flagship beers, and was one of the first beers 10 Barrel developed. The brewery uses a combination of whole leaf and pellet hops that create a well-developed hop flavor. This makes for a very drinkable IPA that I'd recommend, whether you’re a hop lover or not.”
Dave Shively — Hanalei Island IPA (ABV 4.5 percent, IBU 40) — Brewed by Kona Brewing Co., Kona, Hawaii
“Kona has been handcrafting beer for the past 12 years in Hawaii, and today it’s the top-selling craft beer on the islands. In 2017, the Hanalei Island IPA finally made its way to the mainland. More importantly, it drifted all the way to the Mahoning Valley. In my mind, I’m the first person in the Valley to experience the Hanalei Island IPA. With its indigenous island ingredients of passion fruit, guava and orange juices infused in this beer, it gives off a tropical smell, which balances out nicely the hop character of the beer. With an ABV of 4.5%, this easy-drinking beer is the kind of brew that you’ll want to have in your fridge to add to your summertime portfolio.”
Jason Jugenheimer — Wolf Pup Session IPA (ABV 4.2 percent, IBU 50) — Brewed by Golden Road Brewing Co., Los Angeles
“Los Angeles, the City of angels and red carpets, also has a brewery churning out a craft beer as golden as an Oscar. Wolf Pup Session IPA has a nice hop aroma with hints of citrus. It’s a nice hoppy beer without the high ABV, so it’s perfect for someone who wants hops in a lower-alcohol beer. It’s a crisp beer with notes of grapefruit and a dry hop finish that will keep you California dreaming on a warm summer’s day.”
Roger Gillespie — Eight-Point IPA (ABV 6.2 percent, IBU 70) — Brewed by Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Lexington, Va.
“Eight-Point IPA from Devils Backbone Brewing is a copper-colored IPA that carries an ABV of 6.2% and an IBU of 70. I was impressed with its balance and flavor. I’m an IPA fanatic and this one tickled my taste buds. A really good beer.”
Joe Sanfilippo — Vienna Lager (ABV 5.2 percent, IBU 18) — Brewed by Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Lexington, Va.
“Vienna Lager From Devils Backbone Brewing checks in with an ABV of 5.2% and an IBU of 18. It has a nice malty aroma and a copper color. There’s just a hint of hops, but its got very good flavor. I would recommend this one to any Lager Lover. Check them out at dbbrewingcompany.com.”
David Anderson — Koko Brown (ABV 5.5 percent, IBU 45) — Brewed by Kona Brewing Co., Kona, Kona, Hawaii
“Kona Brewing’s Koko Brown Ale is another strong offering from the Hawaiian brewery. This beer goes down very smooth and has a great coconut flavor. The flavor comes from real toasted coconut that’s blended into each brew. I'm loving the flavors that I’ve sampled from Hawaii. Now the next step is for Kona to figure out how to bottle the weather.”
Watch your local retail outlets, craft beer bars and restaurants for these tasty new additions from R.L. Lipton.