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Sierra Nevada executive on the bitter beer addiction

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Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (Provided by Sierra Nevada)

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (Provided by Sierra Nevada)

Brewbound has a nice Q&A with Sierra Nevada Director of Sales Joe Whitney on the runaway success of Torpedo Extra IPA.

Torpedo, the first year-round IPA from the Chico, Calif., brewery, has surged ahead of well-known IPAs from Lagunitas, Stone and Dogfish Head since its 2009 debut, according to the story. Torpedo is the top IPA in off-premise retail accounts, and its sales rose more than 50 percent in 2011 and 2012 and are up 25 percent this year, Brewbound states.

I know exactly why it's doing so well: It's excellent. It tastes better than the above-mentioned IPAs (it's not as dry as other West Coast IPAs) and is cheaper. Torpedo is the beer I drink every day.

The only year-round IPA that's better than Torpedo? Fresh Cigar City Jai Alai IPA (less than 30 days old), but that Tampa beer has become harder to find and is several dollars more per six-pack.

As a hophead, I found the following particularly interesting:

"Q: Over the past year, IPA has become the top-selling style for craft beer, and Torpedo is the fastest growing brand for Sierra Nevada. Can you speak to the convergence of the two?

A: What happens with your palate is that you get used to that [IPA] flavor profile; there’s just something about IPA that is just right. It’s a big, meaty beer that’s like “do you want steak or do you want fish?” The IPA drinker is the steak eater.

In terms of the go-to kind of beer, most beer aficionados, that I know of, have landed on IPA and stayed there. Because once you get used to that flavor profile, you want that as part of your drinking occasion."

While I'm not a steak eater, I agree with Whitney's comment about getting used to the IPA flavor profile and staying there. I'd even go farther and call it an addiction: I just love bitter beers and find myself almost unwilling to drink anything else with regularity. I think at least 90 percent of the beers I drink are hoppy and bitter.

And while I know a lot of fellow hopheads, there are many beer geeks out there who don't like the bitter brews. I think some people are just predisposed to like hops.

Read the complete Brewbound story here.

What about you? Are you addicted to bitter brews? Or do you prefer the malt side of the beer flavor spectrum? Please comment below.

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Alan Shaw

Alan Shaw has been a fan of craft beer for nearly two decades. He is partial to hops and has been an editor at the Herald-Tribune since 1997. He can be reached at (941) 361-4914, by email or mail at 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. Follow him at @alancshaw on Twitter and on Facebook.
Last modified: September 13, 2013
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