I have a long-running blind-tasting series on "imperial" IPAs, those with huge complex flavors and ABV well over 8%: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/992711
The problem of course is that you can't drink very many of that type of beer until you have an excedrin headache. Hence a parallel search for "everyday" pale ales running from 5 to a bit over 7% abv. I have a long-running thread for this "milder" category here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/971398
In 2014 Deschutes Fresh Squeezed clearly distinguished itself in one blind-tasting after the other, beating out nearly 30 heralded beers in the process.
NOW it's time to challenge DFS for the title. Tonight's blind tasting pitted 4 IPAs that have recently won preliminary tastings in late 2014:
Founders Centennial IPA
Left Coast Trestles
The winner of this evening's "semi-final" tasting will move on to the 2015 finals to face DFS. All beers were tasted blind, in that I knew the 4 beers, but not which was in which glass. Actual tasting notes follow:
Beer 1: Very good initial impression. If anything it lingers a bit long on the moderate bitter side.... but overall nice.
Beer 2: A bit skunkier than 1. Wanting to get this taste out of my mouth.
Beer 3: Bright, lemony flavor... 1 is more bitter by comparison. I like them both in different ways. Might slightly favor 3 at this point.
Beer 4: Non-descript. Mild initial impression evolves to a bitter note or two then fades. Just not very dramatic.
Re-tasting Beer 2, still yucky.
This tasting was over fast... Beers 1 and 3 just standout. 2 is yucky tasting by comparison and 4 just is too mild and indistinct.
REVEALING THE BEERS:
Beer 1: Left Coast Trestles > advances to the finals
Beer 2: Caldera IPA.
Beer 3: Tallgrass Ethos > advances to the finals
Beer 4: Founders Centennial