In super-beers, my tastes tend to run to monster IPA's, imperials, doubles, etc. But the drawback is these can run 8 - 9 - 10% ABV or higher. One bottle of them and you're tipping, two is like 4 of anything else... so is there a great "everyday" IPA out there with lower ABV?
Criteria for tonite's blind tasting: ABV <7%, Ratebeer > 90. Candidates are:
Deschutes Red Chair (6.2% ABV)
Stone Go-To (4.5%)
Boulevard Pop-Up (4.3%)
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed (6.4%)
Nectar Ales Nectar IPA (6.7%)
Lagunitas IPA (6.2%)
All beers were tasted blind: I knew the 6 identities ahead of time, but not which was in which glass... Actual tasting notes follow:
1: Pleasant up-front flavor, hint of citrusy sweetness...
2: Skunky up-front taste. Out at first sip.
3: Effervescent texture (overly so), light on flavor. Ineffectual.
4: Interesting. A bit drier than #1 at first, but seems well made... still sort of singular mild bitterness, doesn't evolve.
5: Nice, mild carmelly initial flavor, opens to mildly bitter hoppy bouquet
6: Similar comments to #45: well made, non-complex, mildly on the bitter side.
Beers 1, 4, 5, and 6 move on to next flight of tasting
1: Mildly luscious up front... some lip-smacking flavor evolution
4: Juyst sharply bitter vs. #1. This wouldn't be a steady go-to IPA for my palate
5: Nice citrusy up-front flavor. Pleasant relief from the singularity of #4
6: Now this is dry, but not as much so as 4
Beers 1, 5, and 6 move to the final round of this taste-off
1: I could definitely go-to with this... complex, nothing not to like, some hint of sweetness amongst the bitters.
5: Nothing not to like, but 1 just is overall more interesting
6: Seems sort of nice but bland.
A final sip of #1 seals it.
RESULTS: 1 is the ONLY one of these 6 beers that meets with my palate for an everyday "non-imperial" pale ale with great flavor.
DRUMROLL to reveal the winner, I honestly have no idea which beer this is.... Deschutes Fresh Squeezed!! I note that in prior random tastings this beer has also fared well. It's just excellent and the only one of these 6 that will move on in this "everyday" competition.
Revealing identities of the other beers: 2 (Lagunitas IPA), 3 (Deschutes Red chair), 4 ( Stone go-to), 5 (Nectar IPA), 6 (Boulevard Pop-up). Interesting to note that hands-down the driest beer of this bunch was the Stone. Sorry but I just don't crave the Stone PA style.. it's singular to a fault IMO.