THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BLIND BEER TASTE TESTS (Or, BEER BATTLES: WHO HOPS TO THE TOP?)

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“Stop listening to your heart and your mind, and start listening to your taste buds.”
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This is the Fourth and final installment.
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If you missed Part 1, you can read it HERE.
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If you missed Part 2, you can read it HERE.
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If you missed Part 3, you can read it HERE.
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You are HERE.
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Before we begin this final installment of Blind Beer Taste Tests, Brother Nappy and I would like to proudly acknowledge our sponsor ‘Dale McHale’s House Of Ales In Avondale’, and his catchy little advertising slogan: 
“You’ve tried the rest, now try Dale’s.”


As I type this I’m listening to ‘Bad Karma’ by Warren Zevon:

Bad Karma
Coming after me
Bad Karma
Killing me by degrees
Bad Karma
Bad Karma


It's a dog's life
And it's not my fault
Ought to hang my picture
In the All-Time Losers' Hall of Fame
Bad Karma
It's a low down dirty shame

Yeah, “It's uphill all the way”, but these Blind Beer Taste Tests provided a wee-wee bit of refreshment during my trudging climb. So, without further ado, let’s get to the results of the Finals and find out which 12-ounce warrior triumphed in these Beer Battles.

“THE BEER BATTLES COME TO AN END!” 
(Or, "Nappy And Stephen Finish Sacrificing Their Livers In A Search For Truth")

Our scoring system looks like this:

A+ = “Goes up to Eleven” points (Think: ‘Spinal Beer Tap’
A = 10 points
A- = 9 points
B+ = 8 points
B = 7 points
B- = 6 points
C+ = 5 points
C = 4 points
C- = 3 points
D+ = 2 points
D = 1 point

The last four beers standing were ‘Big Sky IPA’, ‘Hop Knot’, ‘Little Sumpin’ Ale’, and ‘Odell Red Ale’. And here’s how it played out . . .

TEST #16: MAY, 2012

Odell Brewing
Co., ‘ODELL RED ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A-
Total =  33 points

Big Sky Brewing Co., ‘BIG SKY IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A-
Total =  34 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
The big underdog, BIG SKY IPA, pulled off yet another upset, beating ODELL RED ALE by one lousy stinkin’ point. Nappy and I both felt that the beers could have been a bit colder, and knowing that ODELL RED ALE’s flavor seems to suffer more so than most others when it’s not properly chilled, we decided to give RED ALE the benefit of the doubt by conducting a third round face-off after both beers had spent 9 minutes in the freezer. Unfortunately for RED ALE, it didn’t alter the results.

Nappy gave ODELL RED ALE a “B+” after the 9-minute freeze, and he gave BIG SKY IPA an “A-”. I gave RED ALE an “A-” and a full “A” to BIG SKY IPA. After a Ninth Avenue Freeze-Out, BIG SKY IPA still came away with a 19 to 17 victory.

TEST #17: MAY, 2012

Lagunitas Brewing Co., ‘LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A
Total =  36 points

Four Peaks Brewing Co., ‘HOP KNOT’
Nappy:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A-
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Total =  35 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
And yet another 1-point victory. This time the favorite, LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE, managed to hold off the little-known but heavy-hitting hoppy challenger, HOP KNOT. Hokey-Smoke, these last four brews were darn close to each other in quality and it’s unfortunate that any of them have to be tagged with a “loser” label. But some warriors must fall in order to reach the one-on-one Championship Round. And now we know who the two leaders are.

In the Championship Round, the big favorite LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE, representing California and the American League, went up against the National League’s underdodger BIG SKY IPA from Montana. And here’s wha’ happened . . .

TEST #18: MAY, 2012

Lagunitas Brewing Co., ‘LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = B+
Stephen:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Total =  33 points

Big Sky Brewing Co., ‘BIG SKY IPA’
Nappy:
Round 1 = B+. Round 2 = A-
Stephen:
Round 1 = A-. Round 2 = A
Total =  36 points

Post-Test Post-it Note:
And BIG SKY I.P.A. polished off his last competitor to win the Beer Battles’ Blind Taste Testing Challenge. BIG SKY - the Heavyweight Champion! “He didn’t know it was a damn show, he thought it was a damn fight.”



BIG SKY IPA knocked out the following quality brews during our Blind Beer Taste Tests: Sierra Nevada RUTHLESS RYE, BRIDGEPORT IPA, Sierra Nevada PALE ALE, Ponderosa IPA, Odell RED ALE, and Lagunitas LITTLE SUMPIN’ ALE. Luck had nuttin’ to do wid it.

And if anyone still wonders why these brews must be taste-tested blindly so that name recognition, packaging, and reputation can’t interfere with the important work of the taste buds, let me point out to y’all that at the website BeerAdvocate, our winner, BIG SKY IPA only scores an 88 (out of 100) consensus grade. Good, but not good ENOUGH for a such a fine ale.


So, Brother Nappy and I determined that BIG SKY IPA was our collective favorite, but our taste tests also showed us which brews are our individual favorites. And here’s that list:

Brother Nappy’s Favorites:

18 points
Hop Knot

17 points
Big Sky IPA
Little Sumpin’ Ale
Ponderosa IPA
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Mojo IPA
West Coast IPA
Odell IPA

Stephen T. McCarthy’s Favorites:

19 points
Odell Red Ale
Big Sky IPA
Little Sumpin’ Ale

18 points
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

17 points
Ponderosa IPA
Hop Knot
Odell IPA

We hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as we enjoyed drinking it.

You do eighteen tests and what do you get?
Quite a bit drunker and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go
I drank my soul to the depths of Sheol.

"Expensive beer and cheap women – that’s for me!"
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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6 comments:

  1. I'm a little suspicious of the verifiability of these tests, McDogg...

    After all, you were able to type this post after completing it.

    And PS...no such thing as a cheap woman...

    LC

    ReplyDelete
  2. DISCDUDE ~

    >> . . . no such thing as a cheap woman

    Ha! Yeah, you're probably right about that. I suppose even the least expensive woman is going to cost the man an arm and a leg and a peace of mind.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beer not being my thing, I really don't know what to say other than I'm glad you and your brother had such a good time with this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And all this time I've never had a big sky. Now I feel like I'm missing out, if it's the king. But I'll only drink it if I can put the tiny champion glove on top first.

    Also, blogging to Zevon... about beer. A man after my own heart.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds like fun. Don't know how good I'd be at making these sorts of discernments, but I guess I won't know. I don't have anyone here to drink with. I'm sure my wife would never play beer tasting with me and my brother's in Tennessee and he doesn't drink beer anyway. Guess I'll just cry in my beer.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  6. BEER BOYS ~
    Yeah, ya gotta have the miniature boxing glove to crown your Beer Battles champion with.

    In truth, I'd had a BIG SKY IPA once before, prior to the beer battles, and although I thought it was really good, I never would have guessed that it would emerge victorious against all these other quality brews.

    It just goes to show how we must cut out all the other distractions in order to fully concentrate on the most important question at hand: How do it taste?

    And, oh yeah... Zevon goes with beer like John Travolta goes with Tom Cruise. No. Wait. That didn't come out right.


    BOIDMAN ~
    Well, there's also something to be said for crying in one's beer. But it must be asked: "Which beer are ya cryin' in?"

    Hopefully it ain't Bud Light!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete

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