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ipa_taste_test - 3

#10: Sam Adams Rebel IPA

Sam Adams was arguably one of the most successful early craft brewers, and the brewery continues to put out innovative brews, albeit on a massive scale. This was another beer that three of us noted didn’t taste like an IPA–perhaps due to seemingly low hop content. In fact, one reviewer noted that its aroma was “absent.”

Judging by the light color and thin mouth feel, it’s not surprising that our crew of mountain bikers just weren’t that into this IPA.

#9: Tap Room 21 IPA

According to BeerAdvocate.com, Tap Room 21 is brewed by “World Brews, a subsidiary of Winery Exchange, […] a private label beer supplier for premium-quality beers from the USA, Latin America, and Holland.” Despite this generic description, our tasters noted the Tap Room 21 boasted a honey, caramel, sweet taste. That sweetness also seemed to give the beer a heavyish mouth feel and left the beer with very little overall bitterness.

Once again, one of our reviewers wrote, “This ain’t no IPA.” I don’t know if this just confirms that our panel doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or if it’s an actual criticism of specific beers.

#8: Sweetwater Whiplash White IPA

Sweetwater produces a very good IPA as a couple of our reviewers noted at the beginning of the test–but this wasn’t that IPA. Instead, Whiplash IPA is a seasonal Belgian-style white IPA.

This was just the second beer we tasted, and it turned out to be a pretty polarizing beer: some really liked it, others not at all. Those who enjoyed this one noted the clear, straw color and smooth, bubbly feel. A couple of us noted a sour grape taste and a refreshing finish.

Those who didn’t enjoy this beer noted a metallic taste and a slightly harsh aftertaste. Paul noted that the beer wasn’t distinctive and didn’t taste very hoppy.

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# Comments

  • mlombar17

    Wicked Weed “Pernicious” is the best IPA I’ve ever had. Brewed in Asheville, NC. Ballast Point Grapefuit Sculpin (San Diego) is a close second in my book.

    • Aaron Chamberlain

      Good call on the Wicked Weed. I went there over NYE and was very impressed.

  • SilverHeiHei

    Rhinegeist Truth (Cincinnati, OH) is easily better than any beer on this list. Upland Dragonfly (Bloomington, IN) is another amazing brew and let’s not forget Brewery Vivant’s W.I.P.A. Snappa (Grand Rapids, MI). This seems like a pretty weak list…

  • Aaron Chamberlain

    My INSERT NAME OF LOCAL BREWERY WITH EXTREMELY LIMITED DISTRIBUTION OF THEIR PRODUCTS is way better than any of the other beers on this list. If more than 10 people have access to a beer, it obviously cannot be any good.

    • Greg Heil

      If a beer is distributed AT ALL, it can’t be worth drinking… local brew pubs with beer only available on draft are the only places I go to drink. +10 for homebrews that aren’t available for sale whatsoever.

      (…just make sure you don’t look in my fridge)

  • k2rider

    I’m not a beer drinker but this was a very well written article. The comments so far, not so much. People saying that “X” beer is absolutely better than 12 others in a BLIND taste test is silly.

    • finerbiner

      The list of beers chosen for the test was poor. There could be no quality conclusion that comes from bad data.

    • Jeff Barber

      I think our data and methodology is good, it’s just that our results are limited to the beers we tested. Since Singletracks has such a geographically diverse audience, our intention was to pick several IPAs that are readily available from breweries with wide distribution. If there is some super fresh, local IPA available or your buddy has a recommendation–get that one! If not, I suggest snagging one of the top 5 on our list and you’ll probably be satisfied.

      Maybe this doesn’t need to be said but everyone’s tastes are different so there’s no real conclusion that can be drawn from ANY taste test, even if it includes every beer ever and the panel has thousands of people on it. The result will always be an average of peoples’ tastes, not an individual’s specific preference.

    • Dave A

      Jeff… have to agree w finerbiner above …. none of these IPA’s would make the top 50 in a US wide test [ your readership ], you need a better beer distribution store in your area/or more work/research on RateBeer.com [ average of peoples tastes …. ] …. no Stone, no Green Flash, no reps from northeast; Neshaminey Creek, Otto’s, Lost Abby, etc …. or Midwest….. and on and on ….

      Got my attention…. just missed the mark !!

    • Jeff Barber

      Haha Dave, I thought about just writing an article listing the top 10 IPAs according to RateBeer.com, but what’s the fun in that? 🙂 Also, the whole (tongue-in-cheek) premise of this test is that mountain bikers have specific IPA tastes which need to be studied.

  • bicycle640

    Faves available in the bay area:
    Racer 5 from Bear Republic
    Drakes IPA and Pale Ale
    Sierra Nevada Pale and Hop Hunter IPA
    Stone Brewing IPA and Pale
    …Usually i like chocolate milk post-ride though…

  • brad362

    Thank you Larry Hart. What is it about IPAs that people love? When did bitter become a good thing?
    Remember the “bitter beer” commercial? Now that’s considered a compliment.
    A good Imperial Stout or Porter. THAT’S beer with taste.

  • Krigloch

    Love both of those from New Belgium. But I prefer the Rampant, damn it’s good!

  • BBelfield

    I would say you all had flawed taste buds, but the number 1 pick was absolutely correct among that list.

  • m@frit

    Not a fan of IPAs. Not sure why anyone would want anything so bitter.

    Give me a nice, ridiculously strong Belgian any time.

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