I just got off the phone with Chip at Live Oak Brewing, and I asked him about the impact that the current worldwide hop shortage is having on his company. He says they have enough hops to last through the year and into 2009, but the inability to get sufficient Cascade hops is causing them to downgrade their Liberation IPA from a regular brew to a seasonal, which ought to have Austin hop fans … um, crying in their beer.
And there's more bad news: their Pale Ale (which I tried for only the first time last night on my first-ever visit to Bull McCabe's after the They Might Be Giants show at Stubb's) is going away altogether.
But all is not lost: Live Oak will still make an IPA, they're just not going to call it Liberation because they can't duplicate its distinct Cascade dry-hopped taste signature. The new one will simply be called Live Oak IPA, and Chip says it tastes "fantastic."
Okay, the brewer himself isn't exactly an unbiased source, but given that I've never put a Live Oak product to my lips that I didn't love, I'm going to believe him and look forward to trying it.