Monday, May 25, 2015

Three for the Road — The Final Battle (IPAs of course!)

Almanac India Pale Ale
ABV 7.5%

Wild Ride Brew
Hopperhead India Pale Ale
ABV 6.7%

Sunriver Brewing
Vicious Mosquito IPA
ABV 7%

Five years and over 300 beers later we have come to the end of the road. It was an epic journey of beer education and we enjoyed every sip (even those that we spit out). Along the way we drank some amazing beers and some amazingly infected beers and we learned a ton about the flavor profiles of many beer styles and what goes into making them taste the way they do. Hopefully we steered you in the direction of a great new beer or a new beer style in the process.
There are many reasons we are calling it quits, but one of the big reasons is that traditional reviewing gets boring and repetitive. At some point we found ourselves following the "beer reviewer" script and grew tired of the purple prose of both our reviews and the reviews of others. Trying to come up with creative ways to describe aroma, flavor and finish is tedious and took away from our enjoyment of the moment. At some point what it all boils down to is, "Do you like it?" And the factors that go into answering that question go far beyond a beer's characteristics. It's about who you're with. It's about the weather outside. It's about your current state of mind.
So, for this last post we enthusiastically do away with all the formality of typical reviews and get back to the true spirit of a Bottle Battle: which beer tastes better to us and why. It's completely and blissfully subjective, without any concern about beer knowledge or expertise.
Two of the three IPAs we chose for the final battle came from central Oregon near Bend (Sunriver & Wild Ride) while the third was brewed in San Francisco. We enjoyed all three despite the fact that they were very different stylistically. The Hopperhead came out strong with huge hops on the nose, while the Vicious Mosquito was far more subtle in its aroma hops. The Almanac smelled the maltiest of the three with some fruit and some funk thrown in for good measure. But as with many of our IPA battles it all came down to which beer found that elusive balance of malts and hops that we've described in the past as "hop candy." The answer here was clearly the Almanac. For a brewery that seems to have made a name for itself with barrel-aged and sour beers, this is a solid IPA. At 7.5% alcohol and with a distinct sweetness in the finish it could definitely fall into the double IPA category, but no matter what they choose to call it, it's damn good and has definitely made it into the rotation of excellent IPAs you are likely to find in our fridge if you come visit!
And before I sign off for good I'd be remiss not to thank my wife for being my co-conspirer in this whole concept and generously volunteering her nose and tastebuds to the cause. Also, a big thanks to all the guest tasters who helped out with a battle along the way! 
And finally, in the spirit of new beginnings, we are pleased to announce that our bakery/restaurant, Buttercloud, will be offering its own house IPA on tap starting on June 19th! It's called Hopcloud and it's brewed for us by one of our favorite local breweries, Opposition Brewing. Next time you're in Southern Oregon come by and enjoy a pint with your biscuit sandwich!
Unanimous decision: Almanac India Pale Ale

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed all the great reviews along the way!