Swimming in IPA, err, lakes

So, finally on to the lakes bracket.  Both of our breweries are located in Western Michigan.  Within an hour from each other this could make for a great trip.  I told Sarah we could find a nice place on the east coast of Lake Michigan and hit up both breweries.  Enough of dreaming about IPA, lets drink some.

Lakes bracket:  Founders Brewing Centennial IPA vs Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

Founders Centennial IPA

Founders Centennial IPA

Founders Brewing Centennial IPA – Nice, thick, frothy white head that finishes slightly off-white.  Head retention is long… too long.  It’s like unwrapping gifts that you can’t play with.  It’s like my wife undressing but I have to stand outside the room for two to three minutes.  What fun is that?  I see the beer, I want the beer, I have to wait for the beer.  The Centennial hops are almost lustful.  As a brewer, or even homebrewer, you grow found of Centennial hops.  They smell delicious.  This IPA has a nice bitterness to it, with great glass lacing.  One thing I loathe about Founders, they always put ABV & IBU on the box.  So we easily know before we pull the six pack out of the cooler that this IPA is 7.2% ABV & 65 IBU.  The alcohol is absent and/or well hidden by the hops.  It pours a clear glass.  As I mentioned before, this is a pleasant site, especially with a hoppy IPA.

Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale – The first thing to point out that I didn’t notice.  No where on the bottle does it say Bell’s Brewery.  Only does it say Two Hearted Ale.  It’s mostly like this on the box too, minus the bottom where Bell’s lists the breweries address.  Instantly as I pour this ‘Beer Geek Favorite’ IPA, I notice the light malt color of the beer.  Much lighter than that of the Founders.  The aroma is pleasant and inviting.  The larger head retreats faster than that of the Founders, which is nice.  Head retention is the evil cousin.  Go away head!  Wait, let me wipe my finger on my forehead and swirl it in the head.  Sick!  Please wear a helmet if you practice this.  Bell’s Two Hearted has some haze to it, nothing to complain about though.  Not the sharp taste on the tip of your tongue like the Founders.  Ratebeer.com has Bells Two Hearted Ale at 100.  When I saw that I was like, WTF?  How could this be?  I had to actually ask around for the IBU rating.  Which I think came from a homebrew recipe.  ABV is listed as 7.0%, while IBU, allbeit unreliable, is around 47.  That’s damn near a pale ale, or questionable to enter as an IPA.  The IBU rating came from a homebrew clone recipe.  So take that for what it’s worth to you.

Bell's Two Hearted Ale head

Bell's Two Hearted Ale head

Conclusion.  I think most beer geeks begin to rate beer on the cost of the six-pack.  So a $13.99 six pack is better than a $8.99 six pack?  Not even.  I may ask around to find out how beer gets it’s price point.  Really curious.  Another thing I found funny in this palette fight was how ratebeer.com operates.  I have to be a member to see the top 50 of a selected style.  I understand everyone has to make money to afford what it is they do.  So I couldn’t find Founders on the ‘free’ top 25 IPA list.  But really, I didn’t need their list to know that Founders was the better beer here.  It won in every aspect for me, my taste buds, and me snoozing at the kitchen bar last night while trying to finish this blog.  The Bell’s is amazing.  No doubt it’s a great beer.  100?  Not to me nor my palette, or senses.  I like the light malty color, but I honestly think this is a killer pale ale.  I know it falls into the BJCP guidelines for an IPA.  But it’s not keeping up with the Founders.  I know two beer geeks that are going to burn my house after this.  Please express your reasons why you feel either is the champ here in the comment section.  This is the MLB (Malty League Beer) though, I’m not changing a call.  Even if it’s for a perfect game.

Next round – not sure what to call it.  I have it written down as Yankee bracket.  Thats not politically correct nowadays.  Maybe frigid north bracket?  It’s Southern Tier Brewing Company IPA versus Dogfish Head 60 Min IPA.

So this post is a day late.  I was exhausted, and started to fall asleep while writing this.  Below is what I found this morning, in full unedited text.  Bert; I have no idea what I’m saying.

Whew!  Almost forgot, my next agenda on today’s plate.  Call in a helicopter.  Ask later.  I was hoping that Bert would ask about some help.  Oh well.

Cheers!

Posted on June 10, 2010, in craftbeer. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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