THIS ISSUE'S TASTING PANEL
Lundy “The Legend” Dale: Founder, Pink Pints Vancouver, CAMRA Vancouver, etc.
Warren Boyer: BJCP Certified home and commercial brewer, and past President of CAMRA Vancouver.
Note: neither What’s Brewing nor Legacy Liquor Store bear responsibility for the opinions expressed within, which are solely those of the individual panelists.
WHO'S ON BOARD
The beers evaluated this round included:
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Every three months, What’s Brewing gets together with Legacy Liquor Store to create a new installment of our Tasting Panel series. Our Fall 2019 round features West Coast IPAs.
A year ago, for the first time, our Panel reviewed IPAs…but we had trouble finding any that weren’t of the “new school.” This time we made it a point to review the two venerable stalwarts that brought highly hoppy beer into BC’s mainstream a decade ago, while including some more recent examples from relative newcomers.
LOOKING BACK THROUGH THE HAZE
There was a time when you could see through an IPA. Then in 2016, Steamworks Brewing and its head brewer Julia Hanlon took “Best In Show” at the BC Beer Awards for Flagship IPA, the first successful BC example of a style called “New England IPA”, and it became a rage. We awarded Julia “Brewer of the Year” in our end-of-year recap for opening a new door. We didn’t know it was a Pandora’s box.
The beers of this new style were hazy; not just unfiltered but thick and pulpy. They had hops but didn’t seem bitter; they were sweet and juicy. Soon it would become impossible to find a new IPA release that was not Hazy or Milkshake. The formerly proud West Coast IPA lay in wait, pining for the day a hoppy backlash would restore it to its rightful throne.
AND THE WINNER IS:
33 Acres of Nirvana takes our blue ribbon for being fresh and interesting but staying close to the West Coast IPA style. The brew is a return to days of yore, when North American IPA broke away from its English ancestor by using bold, fruity, floral and piney Northwest hops, and ramping up the IBUs.
All beers scored at least 20 points this round, which is a very solid showing.
SCORES FOR THIS STYLE GROUP
A general overview of how this style did as a group.
BALANCE: MALT VS. HOP
HOW JUDGING IS DONE
Our unsanctioned competition uses a Zagat-like 30-point rating with a weighted scale based loosely on the BJCP Scoresheet. One of the great things about this format, as opposed to a simple 5-star blogger rating, is that it forces panellists to put more work into evaluating details of the flavour, balance and overall impression before scoring each category.
Panellists are instructed to give an honest rating, not a sugar-coating. As reflected in their scores, some panelists will love a particular beer and others will truly dislike it. Sometimes that’s influenced by factors that aren’t completely within a brewery’s contrul, such as freshness, or just a bad product sample. This is one of the reasons we have a panel rather than just one reviewer: it helps reduce the impact of factors like packaging flaws and personal tastes.
Appearance: 3 points – Colour, Clarity, Turbidity, Legs.
Aroma: 6 points –
Aroma of fruit, etc.
Palate/Mouthfeel: 3 points –
Mouthfeel, Texture, Carbonation, Astringency
Flavour: 8 points –
Sweetness, Fruitiness, Tartness, etc.
Overall Impression: 10 points – Enjoyment, Flaws.
TOTAL: 30 POINTS
Panel scores include these five categories. For a full list of individual scores, see below.