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IPA Fight!

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As I alluded to in my previous post, I felt it was time to revisit my “Central City IPA is slightly better than Driftwood Fat Tug” theory. This was prompted by the rapid rise in the availability of Fat Tug through the LDB, and a recent perceived drop in the quality of CC’s canned products. Perceived, at least, by me. Ben Coli from Sloppy Gourmand. suggested we do dual re-reviews of which beer comes out ahead, and I agreed, always keeping an eye out for any paper-thin excuse to drinking dangerously large quantities of high test craft beer.

So this weekend, with the assistance of the lovely Sharon, I performed a single-blind taste test of the two buggers. Unlike some of my previous taste tests, this one had a beer lineup that ranged from Very Good to Excellent; the only question was really what the the order was.

Oh yeah, this is a horrible inconvenience.

The result can hardly be characterized as fair. About 1/2 a sip into “Sample A” I immediately identified it as Driftwood Fat Tug, so well do I know these beers. Of course, Sharon did not confirm nor deny my suspicions until after I was done, but it was pretty obvious.

The differences I had previously ID’d held true. Fat Tug has a bigger, fuller body, and CC has the fragrant citra hops pounding away at your nose. However, when put side by side, monster hops against monster hops, the CC’s advantage ebbs away while the Fat Tug’s smoother tones hold true. In the end, the CC ends up tasting like slightly bitter water in comparison.

However, that’s in a head-to-head comparison. I don’t know about you, but I very rarely find myself double-fisting 6.5% and 7.0%ABV IPAs. OK, maybe not that infrequently, but when I do I’m not in it for the subtle flavours of each, but rather looking to numb my tongue with the excessive hops before launching into the much more economical mouthwash-drinking portion of the evening’s entertainment.

Round two saw me enjoy a nice 5oz of each beer solo. Again, the Fat Tug won out due to the bigger body. Long after the intensity of the hops on each had faded, the Fat Tug continued to offer up flavour while the CC IPA seemed to out-hop itself.

I don’t know if the canned formula has changed, but overall the massive hop blast I’d come to expect from the CC simply wasn’t there whenever Fat Tug was around, and that proved to be it’s downfall. I will have to try this test again with the draught versions the next time I’m out, as I have always found the draught CC IPA to be even more massively awesome than the canned.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the CC IPA is still a fantastic IPA; it’s just that the Fat Tug is slightly more fantastic. I guess I need to update that list on the right now.

Written by chuck

October 10th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Beers

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August and September Beer of the Month(s)

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Summer is a fun, but busy time. As such, the date for picking and posting an August Beer of the Month just slipped right past me. No mind, though, R&B’s East Side Bitter deserves extra acclaim.

My plan upon realizing the lack of update was to just let it slip until September and hope no one noticed. This is normally my plan for pretty much any disaster, btw.

However, something happened yesterday that changed that plan. And that something was Driftwood Twenty Pounder Double IPA. I’m not going to beat around the bush. This beer is astoundingly good. When Driftwood released Fat Tug last year, it was a serious contender to Central City’s reigning IPA, beating it in the all important viscosity battle but ultimately losing out to the fragrant and copious hops in CC’s beer. Seriously, open a can of that and see how long it takes for you to get a whiff of strong hops five feet away. It’s measured in seconds… with a decimal.

With 20 lb-er, though, Driftwood has taken the high sugar/viscosity goodness of Fat Tug and added a schwack of hops. And then another. And another. There’s so much hops in this bad boy that I’m fairly sure I just discovered the root cause of the recent hop shortage. Four hours later I could still quite vividly taste the hops. Hell, the next morning I could still detect lingering bitterness.

Now, I know it’s not fair to compare a DIPA to a regular IPA. They are quite different beasts. A better comparison would be Gary (of CC)’s excellent Roach DIPA, which is fantastic, but 20lb’s extra viscosity still takes the battle (well, and it beats Roach on hops, too). Perhaps a double-blind double-IPA taste test is in order. We can get samples from CC, Driftwood, GIB, Howe Sound, and Tree and line ’em up (maybe throw some Ace of Spades and Dogfish Head Squall in there for good measure). Of course, such a tasting is a ticket to very bad morning. Still, I’d be up for it because I’m dumb.

So there we have it, a double IPA for Beer of the Double Month. Fitting, no? I’m only 1 bottle into this so far, and believe me, there’s lots of research remaining to take 20lber’s measure. However, thus far, there is only one negative thing I can say about the beer: the label. I like the design, but the subtle black/blue colours just kind of blend into one another during printing. Oh well, can’t win em all, eh guys?

As someone with first hand experience,
let me just say colour correction is a bitch.

Written by chuck

August 19th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Beers

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July Beer of the Month: R&B East Side Bitter

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I know, I know. July was about five days ago. I’m sorry. I was distracted by drinking beer on a sunny deck overlooking both the north end of the straight and a dramatic, miles long sandy beach. Sure, I guess I did technically have internet on my phone and could have done this post then, but I also technically had several more beers in the fridge, and we know who wins that battle.

So here it is at last, July’s Beer of the Month. I was tempted to go with something a bit more summery than R&B’s outstanding new ESB, but honestly I just can’t get enough of this beer, and I haven’t featured it before in a BOTM post, so here it is. I’ll not bother writing up just how much I love this beer again, since you can just go read it here if you’re so inclined.

Yes, I did just try to paw my monitor. Yes, I am pathetic.

If you see this beer, buy it. Buy lots of it. Not only is it great, and rapidly disappearing, but we also need to reward R&B for doing well by producing their first serious beer snob level beer. Good job guys; keep up the great work.

Written by chuck

July 5th, 2011 at 11:40 am

Posted in Beers,Breweries

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