Consumer-driven trends are rare in craft beer. Typically, brewers and suppliers hammer out what's possible, practical and potentially profitable, and the rest of us drink it up. That pipeline has lately sprung some leaks—it's hard to imagine any brewer getting excited about alcopop root beer until it started selling like crazy.
In Portland, most of the best breweries have been slow to adopt the new juicy, fruity, light-bodied and often-cloudy Northeast-style IPAs, tending to prefer the piney, ultra-bitter versions native to the Northwest.
Well, the fuss created by the new Great Notion on Northeast Alberta has inspired some other takes. Fat Head's and Breakside collaborated on a loosely Vermonty beer called Pulp Free, which I found too bitter and clear.
At 10 Barrel in the Pearl, Whitney Burnside made a one-off IPA called Maine Squeeze. It's just a little hazy and drinks like reduced-sugar orange juice—lightly citrusy without the sweetness of Great Notion's standard-setting Juice Jr. It's a great beer, especially when the sun is shining on the new rooftop patio. Here's hoping we get even more versions before summer arrives. Recommended.