Tuesday, August 16, 2011

IPA Can Clash — Fort George Brewery vs. Caldera Brewing vs. Avery Brewing vs. Anderson Valley Brewing

Fort George Brewery
Vortex IPA

ABV 7.7% 

Color: Hazy orange.
Aroma: Herbal (sage and lavender).
Flavor: Sweet malts up front, but quickly turns bitter.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy
Finish: Harsh bitter greens.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Caldera Brewing IPA
ABV 6.1%

Clear orange with touch of red.
Aroma: Spicy herbal hops.
Flavor: Simple watery coffee.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy
Finish: Grapefruit rind.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Avery Brewing IPA
ABV 6.5%

Clear golden.
Aroma: Tropical fruit (papaya, pineapple).
Flavor: Smooth with sweet pineapple and melon notes.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy
Finish: Slow building moderate bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good 

Anderson Valley Brewing
Hop Ottin' IPA
ABV 7%

Color: Clear brownish orange (kind of like some cream sodas).
Aroma: Caramel malts, rusty metal.
Flavor: Lemony citrus with some savory root vegetable notes.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy
Finish: Mild bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Blow by Blow
Being in a outdoor recreation mecca like Southern Oregon makes canned craft beer all the more desirable. Whether you're rafting, hiking or mountain climbing, canned beer is easier to pack in and pack out on your adventure. On two recent trips down the Rogue river in our two-person inflatable kayak we experienced firsthand the tasty convenience of craft beer in cans. As usual we reached first for IPAs and found quite a few at the local beer store in Medford (Beerworks). There were so many in fact, that the battle turned into a chaotic can clash featuring four combatants.

Judging this hoppy brawl were myself, my wife and my parents. My mom poured them blind for the rest of us and the battle was underway. Without going into the details of each beer (which you can read above) we were pleasantly surprised at the diversity of flavors and aromas. We detected everything from pineapple and papaya to rusty metal and sage. After we'd tasted them all we ranked the beers by preference and found that there was absolutely no consensus. Apparently everyone has different qualities they crave in an IPA. Imagine that? I went ahead and rated them all "Good" since none of them were universally reviled and all would taste great with your next picnic.

We went with the Avery IPA as the winner since it was the winning pick of both myself and my mom. It may be a controversial victory however, since it was ranked last and next to last by Ellen and my dad. As far as any advice as to which to spend your hard-earned cash — I'd steer fans of IPAs with big bitter finishes to go for the Fort George and Caldera, while those who prefer a slightly sweeter and more balanced IPA might give the Anderson Valley and Avery a try.

Winner by majority decision: Avery IPA

No comments:

Post a Comment