So I was going to call this the yankee bracket. But I don’t want to offend any northerners. Since we have a new contestant, that is actually in the mid-Atlantic region, they may also be offended by being classified as a yankee. We could call it the snow region, but I’ve received a couple of emails from another of our facilities in the lake region of New York and they’re hating life right about now. These people actually had air conditioners too. So it’s now known as the north bracket. As we near the end of the IPA challenge, we’re filling the North and the South brackets with three beers. For those tuning in late, requirements are simple. The beer must be year round available, and an IPA. No imperials or doubles. That’s IIPA & 2XIPA for the beer geeks.
Dogfish Head 60 min IPA – We start with what is known to most beer geeks, or craft beer enthusiasts as the staple India Pale Ale. Dogfish Head beers to me are hit or miss. My wife and I love Punkin Ale. This spring we discovered Aprihop. Others like Palo Santo? I’d rather drink straight liquor, since that’s what it tastes like to me. This isn’t the first time I’ve had a 60 min IPA. It was however the first time I brought any home. I’ve had it on tap several times. Some restaurants seem to think this beer is all there is in the craft beer world. Oh, Oh, I almost forgot. My wife’s favorite DFH is Midas Touch. It was recommended to her by the bartender at a restaurant in Watkinsville, GA called Chops and Hops. Ok, I said she should try it also, but she took the ladies advise over mine. This was the first day the place was open to the public. It is a must try. The food is good and the tap and bottle list, constantly changing, are great. I do have a soft spot in my heart for DFH. I won a sign from them on Tweeter. So, 60 min IPA? Really, really good. Pours a small head, not too large, with not much retention at all. Minimal glass lacing. Opaque straw color. Once poured it has a grassy nose. Day two and bottle two I’m getting some roasted malt, toffee type nose and taste. Obviously not much since the SRM is low on the chart. It’s by no means a hop bomb. Yet why would DFH market as one since they have the 90 min and 120 min versions? It does warm to a nice alcohol bite in the finish. Guess what the IBU is? 60! Whoa. ABV is 6%. I see comments often of how great of a session beer this is. Yeah, those are professionals. I’m a rookie in their books. I might can session a Michelob Ultra.
Southern Tier IPA – Second on the list is a brew from Longmont, NY. My first STBC IPA was a gift. I love gifts, but I think this was an old batch or got hot and soured. Maybe my tongue was in the mood for something else. I will say that this time the IPA stood tall. What a good beer. It poured almost identical to the DFH 60 min. Small head, short retention. Minor glass lacing. ABV comes in at 6.9%, but it’s not noticeable. I’ve had some 7% beers where I was buzzed after the first one. I hunted and Goggled for two days looking for the IBU. My guess is near 70. Leon Farmer and Company, the Athens distributor for Southern Tier tells me it’s in the 65 to 70 ballpark. I must add that after my, my damn mousepad keeps jumping around on me. Sorry, I turned it off. Either my ergonomics are horrible tonight, or the mousepad is super sensitive. Southern Tier is new to Georgia. Yet once again, thanks to our friends at Leon Farmer and Company for distributing this great craft beer in the Athens area. I must add that so far I thoroughly enjoy their imperials much more than their everyday options.
Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 – This was a first taste for me. “We got a first timer over here.” I have had several Mutiny Fleet Imperials. I must say, they ALL impress! I might like their pumpkin more than DFH Punkin’. Thinking about this and it being the end of July, Hang Ten is in stores. It’s two months before we’ll see Great Pumpkin. I hope to find some Great’r Pumpkin this year, but I’m not holding my breathe. So expect me to enjoy a Hang Ten with the next two days. Ha, the wife is in Atlanta until Thursday. So the first thing I notice, as I pour this beer, it smells completely different that the two previous IPAs. Which smell almost identical. That’s a nice change. It smells of huge citrus hop aroma during the pour. Loose Cannon pours with a slight haze, which leads me to believe, before I even taste it, there’s more hops here. Finally I get some glass lacing with this one. Sign of a good beer. Alcohol is at 7.25% by volume, which is more than the two previous beers. With the presence of more malt, evident by more alcohol, means a more balanced beer which hides the hops. Not a bad thing unless you’re looking for a hop bomb.
So who’s winning this round of the IPA challenge? I must say this is by far the toughest round so far. None fail, yet none exceed. They are all similar in all aspects except taste. Since the beginning of this challenge it’s all been about what suits my palette the best. So I’m not judging by BJCP standards by any means. I’m clearly going off what I enjoy drinking. With that being said, and I loosely eluded to this earlier, I’d much rather have bombers from all three of these brewers than their regular day offerings. I, out of the blue enjoyed the contestant that was submitted in the last minute. This being the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3. If I had to vote on all three I think the other two would be closely tied in second. And since most people refuse to understand the concept of a tie, I’d say DFH 60 min in a distance second. STBC IPA in a very close to second third.
Now that the hard part is over I’m going to gloat on my own homebrew for a moment. It’s a Terrapin Beer Company Rye Pale Ale clone. It’s cloned minus the fact that mine has more bitterness in the after taste.
So until the Southern Swing is ready for consumption…