Much like Watermelon Day, Margarita Day, Blueberry Muffin Day, Pizza Day, and any other food/drink-centric day you can think of, #IPAday is just an excuse to eat or drink one particular thing on one particular day. But who am I to complain? I always welcome the opportunity to eat and drink!
#IPAday was August 4th. Although I marked the occasion with a review of that classic Comfort Beer, Stone’s India Pale Ale, I felt that I needed to do more to celebrate. My Twitter feed was hopping (pun intended) with #IPAday inspired tastings throughout the day, so by mid-afternoon, I decided to jump on the #IPAday bandwagon. On my way home from work, I popped in to The Foodery and grabbed a mixed four pack of IPAs (Cisco Indie Pale Ale, Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, Cigar City Jai Alai IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA). My plan was to gather the Booze Dancers for an impromptu tasting that night. Sadly, adulthood prevailed (i.e. work and family obligations) and the #IPAday tasting never materialized.
On Saturday night (two days after #IPAday), I received a text from Limpd that read “Did someone mention a few beers?”. After a brief text message exchange, we arranged to meet at my house for the tasting (like I was gonna say “NO!”). Unfortunately, The ROK was busy with the kids and The Wookie was on vacation, so they couldn’t make it. Limpd arrived at 10:30 (with a bottle of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix because he was raised to never arrive empty handed) and we immediately started tasting…
IPA #1 – Cisco Brewers Indie Pale Ale
- Limpd: Cloudy orange color with no foam and lots of lacing. Sweet malt and raspberry aroma. Mislead by the aromas. Lots of hops and a bitter, lingering finish. Fell kind of flat. Very unbalanced overall.
- G-LO: Cloudy red/orange color with no head and moderate lacing. Honey, orange marmalade, and pine aromas. I’m asking myself “Where’d the sweetness go?” after taking that first sip. Harsh and bitter from start to finish with a lingering and unpleasant bitter aftertaste. Desperately needs some sweetness to balance things out.
- Conclusion: All I can say is that it was our least favorite of the four.
- Limpd: Red/orange color with a bit of foam and lacing. Sweet malt, bread, and apple aromas. Overly sweet up front. Hop bitterness from middle to end with a slightly bitter finish.
- G-LO: Cloudy amber color with a thick quarter inch head and a bit of lacing. Cinnamon, spiced pear, honey, and pine aromas. Thin, watery mouthfeel and light carbonation. A bit better balanced than the Cisco IPA, but lacked that big IPA punch that I have grown to love.
- Conclusion: Better than the Cisco, but still not great. An average beer at best.
IPA #3 – Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
- Limpd: Cloudy, deep orange color with a bit of foam and lovely lacing. Sweet, ruby red grapefruit aromas. Medium carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. Starts off sweet, but then the hops kick in and lead you towards an appealing bitter finish. Very well balanced.
- G-LO: Cloudy orange color with a thick fluffy head and moderate lacing. Pineapple, mango, tangerine, grapefruit, and floral hop aromas. Medium carbonation that fizzes on your tongue. Sweet malt flavors in the beginning. Hoppy bitterness starts at mid-palate, but never overwhelms that sweet beginning. Mild bitter finish.
- Conclusion: This was Limpd’s favorite IPA of the night, while I put it on par with the Firestone Walker. Although this beer has an ABV of 7.5%, you would never know it. It does a fantastic job of keeping it’s booziness well hidden. Could definitely have a few of these in a row. Definitely on my Comfort Beer list!
IPA #4 – Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
- Limpd: A very bubbly pour! Golden apricot color with good foam and lacing. Peach, apricot, and sweet malt aromas. Not as viscous as the Jai Alai. A harmonious blend of sweet, hoppy, and bitter flavors.
- G-LO: Slightly cloudy pale orange color with a light fluffy head and moderate lacing. Citrus, peach nectar, and mild floral hop aromas. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Citrus and sweet malt start things off. Hops take over and lead you to a pleasant and lingering bitter finish.
- Conclusion: Limpd’s second favorite of the night, while I put it on par with the Jai Alai. Well balanced, flavorful, and incredibly smooth. Very subtle for a West Coast IPA. Much like the Jai Alai, it hides its 7.5% ABV REALLY well. Will definitely be buying this again.
- Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA – 548 reviews. Weighted average rating of 3.83
- Cigar City Jai Alai IPA – 503 reviews. Weighted average rating of 3.79
- Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA – 738 reviews. Weighted average rating of 3.60
- Cisco Indie Pale Ale – 110 reviews. Weighted average rating of 3.49
Have you had any of these beers? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave us a comment.