Barley Mowat 

Beer Fight: East vs West

with 10 comments

Here’s a fun idea: pick two craft brewing regions, and elect three beers from each to compete in a battle royale for the coveted Most Awesome Beer Place title. To keep it varied, pick a category for each brew (otherwise you’ll wind up wading through nothing but Imperial Stouts), say categories of Barley, Hops and Yeast.

Sounds fun, right? Well, I’m doing exactly that this weekend. My buddy Jer is coming back to BC for a week of family-themed relaxation and, for reasons that honestly elude me, I’m invited. As part of this beachside orgy of sun, bocce and venison-consumption we’ll pit West Coast vs East Coast in a battle of breweries from states/provinces that border the ocean. Here is simultaneously both my and Jer’s take.


This should be a bloodbath, right? Well, just because the West has some rather famous beers doesn’t mean I can magically conjure up a bottle of said beer. Pliny the Elder? Yeah, right. Also, even with the raw lower number of highly acclaimed East Coast breweries, there are still some great freaking beers to be found out there. The competition will be stiff, and I’d best bring my A-game.

Luckily, though, I did just come back from a trip to Portland so I’m not limited to just the Great White North and what friendly US breweries deem fit to import. What with my desire to not dive into my unfairly huge cellar, I am handicapped somewhat, but hopefully not too much.

Hair of the Dog Adam (Batch 88)
Traditional Ale – 10.0%
Ratebeer: 100;100

This is my hands-down most favourite beer on the planet, from my most favourite brewery on said same. Batch 88 is the latest, so this is a fresh and un-oaked version, but it’s a legend for a reason. Sure, I could have pulled some Singularity out of the cellar (well, I’m doing that anyways), but when honour is on the line you just gotta go HotD.

Cascade Barrel House Vlad the Imp-Aler (2011)
Sour/Wild Ale – 10.6%
Ratebeer: 99;97

This is a beer that is for sale in Portland, Oregon for $30 a bottle. Thirty freaking dollars per bottle. This is the same Portland, Oregon, where Hair of the Dog (a mere 1 kilometre away) retails at $15 a bottle. Yet people buy this beer. They but a lot of it, and come back for more. Think about that for a second.

Parallel 49 Hopnotist
Imperial IPA – 8.5%
Ratebeer: 88;41

I’m not going to a beer fight on the BC coast without a BC beer. Don’t let that low RateBeer score fool you; this is a massive, amazing IPA. RB scores take time to get up high, and with only 13 reviews to its name so far, Hopnotist is being weighted down artificially. I’ve had both Hopnotist and Pliny the Elder, and I’ll take Hopnotist.


I’ll be honest: challenging Chuck to a East vs. West Coast beer war was just an excuse to get a picture of him drinking a beer out of a can. Then disaster struck, and my road trip to Vermont was cancelled, so I was stuck trying to assemble a competitive lineup from second-stringers. No Heady Topper, no Hill Farmstead… what’s an East-Coaster to do?. Chuck insisted on a strict ‘states on the Eastern seaboard’ rule, so the KSB and Bourbon County I’m bringing with me weren’t allowed to be on the roster. I’m not going to give him any, just out of spite.

I think I managed to field a decent trio of beers, but I’ll admit I’m the underdog. With that in mind, I tried for interesting over obvious.

Evil Twin Even More Jesus
Imperial Stout – 9.8%
Ratebeer: 100;98

This beer is called Even More Jesus. I figure Chuck can’t possibly vote against a beer with that name. Plus, Evil Twin is a great brewery, and this is a big, complex, punch-you-in-the face imperial. If you’re thinking Evil Twin is in Denmark, you’re wrong. They’re a Denmark/Brooklyn brewery – and this one was brewed in very coastal South Carolina.

Captain Lawrence Rosso e Marrone
Flanders Oud Brouin – 10%
Ratebeer: 100;99

I wanted to pick at least one beer from New York State, and this one is pretty special. An American Sour, fermented with grapes & Brett and aged in wine barrels. Captain Lawrence is a fairly big brewery, but they made just 250 cases of this. I haven’t had this batch, and it’s still young, but it feels like a good wildcard for the funky category.

Maine Brewing MO
American Pale Ale – 8.64%
Ratebeer: 99;100

I eyed up some doubles and Imperials, but I thought trying to fight IPA with IPA would be a losing battle with the Cascadians. So here’s an American Pale from Maine Brewing Company. MBC is hovering right on the border of brewing fame right now, and I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve had. This one is a nice hoppy pale, brewed with Warrior, Falconer’s Flight, and Simcoe. I also have a bottle or two of Zoe, on hand for a taste comparison.

Sweet mudda of Gord those are some high quality freaking beers. This will be an epic weekend, for sure.

Written by chuck

July 25th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

10 Responses to 'Beer Fight: East vs West'

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  1. In case someone’s worried we’re limiting ourselves to 6 beers on this Island adventure, I’m also packing:

    Bourbon County
    Tongue Buckler
    Capt. Lawrence Reserve IIPA
    Justin Blåbær
    Flying Mouflan


    25 Jul 13 at 16:21

  2. I GOT WINE COVERED. I can do this.


    25 Jul 13 at 16:25

  3. I’m throwing on the fire: Hair of the Dog Fred, a 3 year vertical of Driftwood Singularity, Lighthouse Numbskull, Powell Street ISA, Driftwood Old Barrel Dweller, Vancouver Island Hermannator 2012… and a few more…


    25 Jul 13 at 16:39

  4. Hopnotist? Don’t get me wrong, this beer was amazing and easily among the top 5 (maybe top 3) IPAs I’ve ever had, but it’s three months old at this point. There’s no way this beer is still in its prime, which explains the low scores on Beer Advocate and probably on RateBeer as well.

    Unless you had it in your fridge at like 1 degree Celsius for the entire time, I’d maybe skip it in favor of a fresh Fat Tug or something.

    Seriously, don’t do this. I know you said you’d pick Hopnotist over Pliny the Elder, but at least the Pliny would be fresh(ish/fresher) when you actually drank it.

    I last had Hopnotist two months ago (although it seems a lot longer now that I think about it) and it had fallen off the cliff in terms of hops.


    27 Jul 13 at 23:37

  5. It’s been in the fridge at pretty much exactly 1 degree from the day I bought it until now. It has the best chance it can to stand up to the competition.


    27 Jul 13 at 23:50

  6. Welp. Good luck. If East Coast wins the Hops category I will hunt you down and forcibly shove a case of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA down your throat.


    28 Jul 13 at 00:31

  7. Also, this battle would’ve been better fought if you guys had actually compared beers based on their brewing cycle: ie. year-round, seasonals, one-offs, etc. Just comparing random East/West coast beers seems really arbitrary (which is why I’m still not sold on Hopnotist, btw).

    Probably the easiest contest you could’ve gone with would have been one where you compared year-round beers similar in style: a year-round single IPA from the West Coast vs. one from the East Coast, a stout, a wild ale (lol), etc. You should’ve also restricted yourselves to Canadian beers. Heady Topper vs. Pliny the Elder are pretty boring arguments (I know neither beer is present in the contest, I’m just giving an example), but Fat Tug versus whatever the Canadian East Coast alternative is would probably be pretty insightful.


    28 Jul 13 at 02:39

  8. Wait… Do you mean this contest might not be sanctioned by BCJP?

    Thanks for crushing my hopes and dreams, Smekermann.


    28 Jul 13 at 09:04

  9. I am the fun police.


    28 Jul 13 at 12:08

  10. […] Here’s the winners, round by round, and my take on each of the East Coast beers. For my take on the West Coast contenders, or Jer’s original take on the East-siders, check out my intro post. […]

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