Albuquerque, N.M.: Marble Brewery's Marble Red Ale
The Southwest seems to love it a simple, flavorful ale recipe, which is why a great old-school red ale such as Marble's goes a long way with beer drinkers in this town.
If we could have forfeited this pick, we would have. As it is, there's no way to win by picking just one beer to represent Beervana. The Rogue, Ninkasi, Deschutes and Full Sail breweries had plenty of brews up to the task, but they're each headquartered outside of Portland and had to go just to whittle down the list. Hair of the Dog has incredible brews, but a whole lot of their best drift into 10% ABV territory or higher. The Widmer Brothers (HOOK) were among craft beer's pioneers. In the end, though, it was BridgePort IPA that won the day. We know, a West Coast IPA -- how original. Well BridgePort's IPA has about as much distance between it and the stereotypical mouthful-of-hops IPAs of the West Coast as Portland has between itself and a tournament-bound college basketball team. It's not exceedingly bitter, nor is it as bland as what the East Coast generally considers an IPA. It's very fruity but, more importantly, the balance of malt and hops and its cask conditioning make it highly complex without being offputting to new drinkers. While its contemporaries try to be as bitter as possible to keep the riff-raff away, BridgePort's flavorful, easy-to-drink 5.5% ABV IPA welcomes everybody to the game. It's something the brewery's been doing fairly well since 1984.