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Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by RayOhioFelton, Apr 1, 2013.
Yeeeeeeeah. The Avatar sealed the deal for me.
I had the White Rajah and Head Hunter shipped on a trade - thought the Head Hunter was better then the Rajah and Pliny I had previously. If I had them all locally available and fresh I would be in Hop Heaven as they are all great.
It has been my experience that especially with IPAs and DIPAs there is very little separation between the highest quality "shelf" beers in the style and the rarer, less distributed ones people rave about. Heady and Pliny are both absolutely terrific beers, but between Hop Stoopid, Flower Power, Finest Kind, Ruination, Double Jack, Sculpin, etc. there are literally dozens of excellent hoppy beers on the shelves every time I walk into a bottle shop that when fresh are very comparable to those top dogs in my opinion.
Can it be truly be a blind taste test if you've had the beer numerous times? If I do a blind taste test with a beer I drink a lot I can pick that out of a lineup. Well, at least I hope I could. Might have to try this.
I'd have to rate these in this order: Heady, Head Hunter, Sucks, Pliny, Palate Wrecker, Nugget Nectar, Hopslam.. That's just going off of memory. I've never had all of them in my posession at once, unfortunately
The silly thing is that local is hype. Hype is caused by high demand and low supply. What you're drinking, which is local, is also hype because most of us can't get it.
I choose to support local because I want to be able to get a cask conditioned fresh beer when I feel like it.
As I've noticed ... if a beer is easily obtainable, it has no place in the Top 10 ... and it can struggle to get into the Top 250.
If that's the formula BA uses, cool. But by definition that means being No. 1 on BA's list does not equal national acclaim. It equals incredible regional support.
And to the point: RayOhioFelton's orginal point is one I'm every so slowly finding to be true. Granted, I've got a *lot* of different beers to try before I become any kind of expert, but I've had a handful of Texas-brewed beers that stand up very well against some of the more highly-acclaimed beers more well-known on this site.
I don't want to bash the BA Top 250 to death. It serves a valuable purpose, and I'm glad I can use it as a reference. But it's a very regionally-biased list.
The IPA flow chart
Is my IPA better than Pliny?
-> No -> Change answer to yes.
Never had the White Rajah, but I picked up a growler of IBUsive last Thursday on my way through Cleveland and I was blown away. Had a decently fresh Headhunter soon after and it paled in comparison.
Fresh Hop Knot blows the Goose Island IPA out of the water my friend. And you know this, man!
Fresh vs Fresh... Not to me and now that i think about it theyre different styles so I should have left it out. HK's salient flaw is the thin & weak body. Do it blindly and see for yourself. And even if you squabble with that particular one, the list I gave is pretty darn extensive and I left out a few that I was unsure if they fresh date. We're blessed by a great distribution system.
I find myself gravitating towards beer I have to hunt to obtain. I think the hunt is what makes it fun. Finally obtaining that bottle after weeks of calling and visiting stores or making trade arrangements gives me a raging renob. More recently, I think I've been too obsessed with out-of-state or hard-to-get beer. Thank you for creating this thread and grounding me once again. I love The Brew Kettle... notice my avatar? It's a picture of the beer I brewed at BK little over 2 years ago, Riemenstouter :] Also, I'll have to check out Fat Heads again. Cheers.
To me, IPAs perfectly exemplify what is most appealing about craft beer. When local, they taste better are fresher and are more affordable.
In my opinion, there really is no need at all to trade for any hop-forward beer.
Everyone knows that Pliny falls off after 37 min....er....ah......36 minutes after bottling.
So when I get "local" Ipa's I am almost always disappointed,even when "fresh". When I get "fresh" Ipa's from well known craft breweries that make good Ipa's, I wish the local breweries made beers like this. When I drink "fresh" Pliny, I see why it is considered a great DIPA. When I drink "fresh" Heady I think wow this is fantastic and Pliny is boring. When I drink "fresh" Lawson's I think wow this is as good as Heady. When I drink "fresh" Hill Farmstead Ipa's I think this stuff is freaking amazing!!!. No "blind" tasting, just enjoying the beer. Just my opinion.
bwwwahahahahaha ... i think so much of BA, but I also don't live on the East Coast. it's hard not to want to rebel against the East Coast-bias on BA.
bottom line: we're all natually loyal when it comes to defending our local breweries.
I agree it should be that way but often it isn't because many local brewers don't use freshness dating, and you don't know how long it has sat on the shelf - and distributors do send out old stuff to new retail shelves. Plus, many brewers that are strong in a region have incredibly fresh offerings. I've had Bell's Two Hearted that was about one week after bottling, and the same for Odell IPA. STONE is great in AZ where I shop.
So yes, theoretically the local stuff on retail shelves ought to be fresher because it was made closer, but for many of us it is not.
Most are local defenders but certainly not all.
I'd take a good local brew from Deep Ellum, Live Oak, or Saint Arnold any day over, say, a PTE simply due to the locals being much fresher and also very good (IMO Texas beers are pretty underrated, I wish they were distributed a little more). I'd much rather have a Pliny at Russian River than drinking it a few months old if they ever hit the shelves around here.
I have been super obsessed with 6 trades and a 13 hour day trip for KBS to grand rapids. This blind taste really grounded me...for now anyways! Got Darklord day and a weekend rip to Chicago coming up at the end of the month to get me going again!
As for loyalty to your local breweries...I am a Browns fan! 31 years I have cheered for them and a few of those years they didn't even exist! so ya, I might have that loyalty issue that has been brought up!
Columbus IPA>Headhunter>White Rajah but that changes every time I get these beers. I can say Columbus IPA is by far my favorite of the three. Rajah can be a but too fruity sone times. Elder I have only had on tap and its hit or miss for me. One time I love it , next time I do not want to finish it.
I will have a case of Columbus and I hope a couple sixers of Rajah and a few four packs of HH coming my way later this month I think. Can't wait.
By chance have you done a blind tasting with them with someone else pouring, etc.? Curious.
Sounds like you are hypeocritical which is fine. You know what you like!
Please go to the doctor as I feel your palate is out of adjustment...
All kidding aside, I have tasted a couple ipa's at a time before and have found that the first one always seems to taste the best. Even cleansing your palate with water or crackers won't remove ALL the hop oils from the beer. I find beers hopped with super high AA hops tend to "coat" my tongue more than beers hopped with lower aa hops. Citra and simcoe both seem to wreck my palate. I had a bomber of my all citra hopped homebrew, and afterwards popped open a myrcenary. That odell iipa is a waaaaay better beer than my homebrew,but after the beating the citra hops gave my palate the myrcenary tasted like garlic and stewed tomatoes. So, with that being said, I try not to compare two or more hoppy beers in the same evening of drinking.
I haven't had HT but I have had PtE. Very solid beer but I could name 10 DIPAs off the top of my head that I would prefer to it.
I like Lakefront IPA quite a bit and all, but you have to be really high if you think I should pick that over "hyped" (ugh enough of this word already!) beers like Zombie Dust, Heady, blah blah blah.
I think of it more as crisp/dry than watery/weak, but of course I was picking out the weak link on your list. I do loves me some Hop Knot though even though its not the same since they changed the recipe several years ago. It's way more west coast these days, and waterier .