Apologies for the delay, I'm finally in a position to stage the final of the second (I)PA Challenge. Some things to note:
1) As with the original (I)PA Challenge, I decided to do it as a blind tasting, with the help of my lovely assistant, Herself.
2) I decided to skip the semi-final stage and go straight to the final four*
3) I decided to nix the Liberty IPA. As much as I liked it, it didn't qualify for the competition even under the very loose rules I'd specified.
The remaining finalists are:
Rogue Yellow Snow IPA 355ml 5.8% €4.99 [Baggot St Wines] link
Shepherd Neame IPA 50cl 6.1% €4.19 [Baggot St Wines] link
Flying Dog - Snake Dog IPA 355ml 7.1% €4.39 [Molloys] link
As before, I asked Herself to facilitate the blind tasting, and the results are below. Last time out all the beers were a similar colour so I had no external clues. This time number 3 was a bit of a giveaway.
1. Lots of hops - but nicely balanced and delicious. Guess Rogue
2. Not so much hops - very well balanced. Guess SnakeDog
3. Even less hops - not bad, but not at the races compared to numbers 1 and 2. Not a Guess, it's the Shepherd Neame (I can tell by the colour).
The results are as follows:
I was right, for once. The Rogue and the Snake Dog were not dissimilar, but the Rogue was a bit hoppier, better balanced and totally delicious. Funnily enough, it's also the most expensive, at €4.99 for 355ml.
Now that I have two competition winners I probably should run them off against each other, and maybe throw in something else into a blind test, to keep me honest. I recently had a Mikkeller Tomahawk IPA which was fantastic and which would fit the bill nicely.
I think I'm done with IPAs for now although I do have a yen to run off some of the more expensive IPAs against each other like Nogne, Mikkeller etc. I also have ideas for other competitions, Golden Ales, Red Les, German Lagers, Czech lagers, Polish Lagers; the list is seemingly endless.
By the way, here are the prices by volume. As before, the most expensive won:
Here are the links to the component posts...
Quarter Final 1 here
Quarter Final 2 here