Thursday, February 12, 2015

Three Blind Mice: A Hoppy Experiment

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Six IPAs blind tasted by Brenton Day, Eric Ducote, and Chuck P.
Six IPAs blind tasted by Brenton Day, Eric Ducote, and Chuck P.

Before working for Bite and Booze, I wasn't much of a beer drinker. Mainly because I was in college and most of the beer that surrounded me tasted like water gone wrong.

After tasting Saint Arnold's Santo, I wanted to learn more about different beer styles and the craft beer industry. My next beer hurdle was the IPA. Every time I tried an IPA, I couldn't cross the bitterness threshold.

During my first few months working at Bite and Booze, we recorded a radio show while sipping on Parish Brewing's Ghost in the Machine Double IPA. Seeing the label featuring a skull whose head is full of hops intimidated my tastebuds, but it was love at first sip.

Since that 1/4 glass of Ghost, I'm all hops all the time. 

I decided to wrangle some of my favorite hop heads to do a blind tasting of IPAs at the Tin Roof tap room. Each brew was ranked in the following categories: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and overall. 

Eric Ducote, older brother of Jay Ducote, is a home-brewer and craft beer fanatic. You can find him on

Accountant by day, home-brewer by night, Brenton Day writes about his beer adventures on The Ale Runner.

Chuck P. is a man of many talents. Rock star drummer for local band, The Anteeks, rock star dad, manager at the Tin Roof tap room, and Jay Ducote's "hetero life mate," Chuck P. also produces the Bite and Booze Radio Show when we record out of studio and his own podcast, Me and My Big Mouth.

After tasting all six beers, the scores were averaged. Here are the results (worst to best):

Covington Anonymous IPA (6.2% ABV): 33

Covington Anonymous IPA
Covington Anonymous IPA

With a dark orange color, Eric mentioned that this one "tastes like someone went to make a Black IPA and didn't go through with it."

Very malty, this IPA was bitter, but lacking in flavor. Having that said, IPAs are not meant to sit on shelves for very long. I couldn't find a bottle date, but it is highly likely this had been sitting for too long.

RJ Rocker's Hop Quake (6.5% ABV): 38

RJ Rockers Hop Quake IPA
RJ Rockers Hop Quake IPA

Hop Quake has a slightly lighter orange hue with a heavy amount of haze. Little to no aroma, the beer had contained only faint notes of pineapple.

This one, too got the, "more bitterness than hop flavor," note. The lingering finish didn't please Brenton, Eric, or Chuck P.

I love when I can smell the beers as I'm pouring this one. I got my nose so close to Hop Quake looking for any sort of aroma, I accidentally snorted some... Still no aroma.

Lagunitas IPA(6.2% ABV): 53

Lagunitas IPA
Lagunitas IPA

Extremely different than the previous two, Lagunitas' IPA is very clear and yellow in appearance. The beer's aroma doesn't match the flavor. While there isn't much of an aroma, the bold flavors of the beer surprised our tasters.

It finishes clean, which we all enjoyed after having a few lingering finishes.

Tin Roof Juke Joint (7% ABV): 59

Tin Roof's Juke Joint IPA
Tin Roof's Juke Joint IPA

Described as "biscuity," "funky," "chewy," and  even "barnyardish," the Juke Joint was well-received.

Brenton wanted more hops, Eric enjoyed the grassy chew, and Chuck P. found it to be a pleasant IPA.

Slightly orange and hazy, Juke Joint is medium-bodied and finishes clean. I like drinking it with boiled crawfish, probably because of that funky, grassy taste.

Founders Centennial IPA (7.2% ABV): 69

Founders Centennial IPA
Founders Centennial IPA

The initial pour is instantly aromatic with smells of citrus and tropical fruits. This beer has a golden, slightly orange hue. The guys found this one to be an easy drinker with only a little lingering bitterness.

Eric found it to be a little one noted, but this was my personal favorite.

Sam Adams Rebel IPA (6.5% ABV): 74

Sam Adams Rebel IPA
Sam Adams Rebel IPA

I originally bought this as a joke, so it seems fitting that it ended up on top.

Extremely clear and bright yellow, the Rebel IPA boasted citrus and bready aromas, bold flavors, and a crisp finish.

Brenton mentioned that he had the Rebel IPA once before and didn't like it as much as he liked it this round.

While Brenton scored this beer much higher than the others,  Eric was the only one of our tasters that scored the Founders Centennial higher than the Rebel IPA.

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