The Great IPA Blind Tasting of 2016

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The Great IPA Blind Tasting of 2016

Over the past few months, the staff here at West Vail Liquor Mart has been trying a number of IPAs in a blind tasting format. We tried 5 IPAs at a time and rated them on a scale from 0-5. We totaled up the scores and sent one beer from each round to the finals in addition to 2 wildcards. All beers had to follow the following guidelines;

– Must be between 5-8%ABV
– Must say IPA or India Pale Ale on the bottle/can
– Must be available at the store
– Must follow the German Beer Purity Law (Only Malt, Hops, Water and Yeast used in brewing)

After a long 4 rounds of rigorous tastings we came up with the following for the finals.

– Breakside IPA, Portland, OR
– Odd13 Codename: Superfan, Lafayette, CO
– Melvin IPA, Alpine, WY
– Alpine Duet, Alpine, CO
– Bear Republic Racer 5 Healdsburg, CA
– Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA Bend, OR

This was a very interesting final in that as a staff we seem to have a type. All finalists were between 6.4%-7.5% ABV, a nice sweet spot. The IBUs (international bitterness units) only ranged from 60-80. The pricing was very similar across the board and most IPAs that made the finals were pretty darn fresh. This last piece of information is I think the most important. Drink your IPAs fresh guys! They taste much better. I am trying my hardest to get the freshest possible hoppy beers at the store.

The Results and Public Tasting (Brew from the Vault Vol. 3)

Out of these 6 exceptional IPAs we picked our favorite and a runner up in another blind tasting. We are pleased to share our top 2 favorites for the public this Saturday 2/4/17 @ 4PM. Coming in second place was Melvin IPA from Alpine, WY. Everything Melvin makes is in my opinion phenomenal. Their IPA probably west represents what they do. It is a clean and hop forward west coast style IPA that is very fresh at almost all times. It is available in 6pk Cans for $12.99. Don’t sleep on their other offerings like the 2×4 Double IPA (it just so happens that we are doing the tasting on national Melvin 2×4 day).

The cream of the crop however was Breakside IPA from Portland, OR. This beer got so many good reviews from our staff. It was everything I look for in an IPA and I am not the only one. This beer has been heavily awarded. Crazy drinkable and delicious, the only problem is this beer isn’t the easiest to obtain. We have one case to sell that day, so when it is gone it is gone. I don’t expect this case to last long after people try it. So please come on in @ 4PM on Saturday for the 3rd edition of our Brew from the Vault Tastings featuring Melvin IPA and Breakside IPA.
-Dean LoRusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart