Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of JulIPA Challenge Results

Sometime last Summer a few close friends and I threw together a blind IPA tasting with about four or five different beers. We enjoyed trying the different beers and guessing what we thought they were. All agreed that we should do it again, and soon.

Soon is a relative term in our busy world- ok, your busy world. If you have a blog, you can not consider yourself busy. A year had passed and we still hadn't had a repeat of our tasting. A few weeks ago talks of a new tasting came up. Ideas were thrown around, and I thought about the upcoming holiday. What would be more patriotic than a party saluting the India Pale Ale? Well, just about anything, but next thing you know, the inaugural 4th of JulIPA Challenge was born!

We decided to go big with a field of ten different IPAs, chosen mostly on the criteria that it was an IPA and it was available at the store. Everyone invited put in money and I picked up the beer. The logistics of putting on a blind challenge turned out to bit a bit daunting, especially when I had to work the morning of the challenge, but my lovely girlfriend came through. She took on the task of paper bagging all the individual beers and then finding room for them in the fridge. That's a pain in the ass job, and for once I can say I was glad to be at work. When I came home my task was to come up with an order for the beers, number them all and pop the caps.

The beers and their tasting order are as follows: 1. Lost Coast Indica Pale Ale, 2. Stone IPA, 3. Avery IPA, 4. Boulder Mojo IPA, 5. Stone Ruination DIPA, 6. Deschutes Inversion IPA, 7. Odell's IPA, 8. Great Divide Titan IPA, 9. Marble Brewery's IPA, 10. Green Flash West Coast IPA.
All of these beers are available locally, with the exception of Green Flash. I thought It'd be nice to throw in a beer that you can't just run out and buy- unless you run really, really far. Marble isn't available in bottles to the public yet but you have to represent the locals. Each participant was given a score sheet which had criteria for appearance (out of 5), bouquet (out of 5), and flavor (out of 10). There was also, for better or worse, space for comments on each beer.
Comments varied for the different beers. One person was descriptive of the Inversion IPA, saying, "Nice honey and molasses bouquet", while another described it as "Yumsies".
Odell's ranged from a heart shape drawing to "Apple/kiwi, smooth finish with some bitterness" to, simply, "feet".
"Too bitter, dude! Ungodly!" was one man's take on Green Flash.
And the beer might have been getting to this girl, who described Stone IPA as "None smell but tasty".

When the participants had finished all of their tasters, which, by the way, were a healthy 4 oz., as opposed to the 2 oz. ones you get at most events, I tallied all the numbers. And while I didn't take part in the event, I did have a few beers along the way, so it took me a few tries to get the numbers right.

When I was sure I had the correct figures, the announcement was made, from last to first:
10. Stone IPA, 90 pts. That was a surprise to many people. I've always thought that Stone is a little light in every facet for such a highly regarded IPA, and it shows when tasted blindly.
9. Great Divide Titan IPA, 99 pts. I think the problem with this beer is the malt presence. Doesn't taste as clean as it could.
8. Boulder Mojo IPA, 101 pts. I thought Mojo would have fared better. It was my everyday IPA for awhile.
7. Deschutes Inversion IPA, 102 pts. One taster thought this beer may have been old. I think its just not great.
6. Avery IPA, 103 pts. This placed where I thought it should have. It is a nice IPA, but not at the top.
5. Lost Coast Indica IPA, 107 pts. This beer flys under the radar for a lot of people, but got some good feedback at the challenge.
4. Green Flash West Coast IPA, 112 pts. I've said before that this is one of my favorites, and was popular here. Some thought it was too bitter.
3. Stone Ruination IPA, 113 pts. Last year's champ eeked out third here. A solid beer that doesn't disappoint.
2. Marble Brewery IPA, 119 pts. Local boy does good. People loved the Centennial hop that came out in the smell and the overall flavor. Great beer.
1. And the Champion of the Inaugural 4th of JulIPA Challenge: Odell Brewing IPA, 126.5 pts. Just about everyone thought this was the standout beer. It may not have the bite that some others have, but the overall drinkability and great finish put this at the top.
That's the trifecta for Odell IPA: Gold at the Great American Beer Fest, gold at the World Beer Cup, and first place at our challenge. They should be proud!

Thanks to all who came out for the event. I had a great time and hope you did too. Let's do it again next year!

1 comment:

marcus said...

When's the next holiday? Oh well, we should do it again. And soon. After one of us goes out of town and gets some really nice and different IPA's. Oh and the Inversion was old, I know it is better than what we tasted, not that much better but better.