In continuing our journey through booze, for our third meeting of AA we tackled IPAs.
Before we start, a disclaimer:
I’m going to include all viewpoints expressed during this tasting but I am also going to throw my thoughts in here.
The disclaimer is necessary as we are talking about IPAs and I love them. I have had many different kinds and my palate at this point is very accustomed to (and loves) the VERY hoppy and bitter.
Now on with the show.
We had a halfway decent list considering our impressive roster of 6 members (we’re very exclusive) …
- Brown’s IPA – Troy NY
- Southern Tier Unearthly – NY
- Wachusetts IPA – Massachusetts
- Gritty McDuff 21 IPA – Maine
- Weyerbacher Hops Infusion – Pennsylvania
- Route 113 IPA – Pennsylvania
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute – Delaware
- Oskar Blues (Gordon, Dale’s Pale Ale, Gubna) – Colorado
As with our other tastings, we had a very classy and technologically advanced method of tracking tasting notes.
We ordered our beers using their place of geographic origins, closest to furthest (roughly).
Brown’s IPA (uncertain of ABV)
Brown’s came first as it is from just over the river, that mecca of urban resurgence, beautiful downtown Troy NY. The fact that one member didn’t pay attention to our tracking list gave us the opportunity to try the Brown’s IPA in both growler AND distributed bottle form…and let me tell you that this worked out to be kind of interesting (interesting if you’re the kind of person that does beer tastings and talks about things like ‘notes’ or ‘finish’ or always smells a new beer before drinking it…and if you’re not, you’re reading the wrong blog post).
Tasting notes on the growler included:
- lightly hopped. tarty. inoffensive
- smooth. basic ipa.
- not so hoppy. would be better in a bottle. Screw you, Dowd.
Some notes on the bottle:
- smoother. different. like growler better.
- way hoppier than growler
- sharper, fizzier than growler
Seems like everyone didn’t hate it but also wasn’t blown away…and most preferred the growler beer to the bottled (sorry J).
Southern Tier Unearthly (11%)
Next we moved down to a personal fave brewer (and brew) of this writer, Southern Tier’s Unearthly (an Imperial IPA). I love this beer and had to share it with the group.
- YUM! buttery num num
- sweetish @ first, hints of caramel
- coffee finish, sweet, unbitter
- nose: citrus, pine, floral
- caramely, good, gordony (writers note: I’m guessing this is from bk, who loves Gordon so when he said this I took it as a positive thing.)
- doesn’t suck
Overall it seems like we all enjoyed the Unearthly. Caramel/sweetness seemed to be noted by a few.
It’s got that great bitterness of an IPA but with sweet tones. The hops are in your face but has malt to back it up.
…also, ‘buttery num num’.
Wachusett IPA (5.6%)
Nobody was all that impressed with this brew from Massachusetts.
- not remarkable
- clear and clean as water. slight bitter finish.
It was SLIGHTLY hoppier than a pale ale but definitely not much of an IPA. It was not as bitter as I would like (IPA lover). I would say it’s a good start if you’re trying to work up to more intense IPAs.
Gritty McDuff 21 IPA (6.8%)
This was totally purchased purely for the name, Gritty McDuff? Great.
- maltyness, hops, early bitter, fades quick. bright at first and mellows
- it’s smooth. WTF!!
- not spitty (writers note: guess this is referring to the tendency of IPA’s bitterness to dry out the tongue)
- nice and malty
I’d say that this is another accessible IPA…richer in flavor than the Wachusett but still not that complex.
It’s not enough for a hophead but maybe for those on their way.
Sly Fox Route 113 IPA (7%)
This was the only beer that I bought with no prior knowledge.
- hop halocaust – blech. hop compost
- hoppy as shit
- too bitter
Guess which note was mine…it was ‘fruity’. As you can see, I was really the only one that didn’t dislike this one.
Is it one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had: no…but I would drink it again…if it was offered to me.
Wayerbacher Hops Infusion (6.2%)
A seriously hoppy beer….this beer has 4 times the hops than the IPA made by Wayerbacher…7 different kinds of hops.
At this point we were getting into slightly more serious IPA territory and it was showing. Most of the notes on this brew just stated that it was ‘too bitter’.
There was one exception which said:
these people don’t like IPAs”
This was, of course, written by me.
Not much in the way of malt in this beer. Hop addicts should try this beer and would probably enjoy it.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (9%)
I love this beer and most of what I’ve had from Dogfish Head…I’ve personally crossed over into Dogfish Head fangirl status.
- sweet at first, hops at finish
- best so far. very balanced (writers note: note that we are toward the end of the tasting)
- so malty
This is a great example of an American Double IPA.
It was a fun tasting due to the fact that we had a few people who are not really IPA drinkers.
I personally look at the tastes of IPA drinkers versus wheat beer drinkers as similar to that of Beatles fans versus Rolling Stones fans…if you love one, you don’t really care for the other.
PS: I’m not really looking forward to our wheat beer tasting but I will do it with the same great attitude of all the wheat beer drinkers that dealt with the IPAs.