Wednesday, August 3, 2011

IPA Throwdown

I've had a couple of IPAs on deck waiting for their time to shine.  Well why not make it a throwdown?  I've heard a lot of praise for the Ska Modus Hoperandi but I balked at the idea of a craft brew in a can.  Seemed sacrilegious to me craft in a can.  But based on the heavily favorable reviews, I had to give it a go.  Up against it is the Schlafly American IPA.  This brew was mentioned in the comments of our IPA shootout a while back.  For a control group in the experiment I threw in one of my favorites, Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

Schlafly AIPA - 3.5 pts

7.2% ABV

The AIPA poured with a nice fluffy head that emitted an earthy piney nose.  The brew had a good mellow bitter with hints of faint grapefruit on the palate.  There was not a significant malt character in the brew giving the hops free reign of the flavor profile.  The bitterness lingers slightly into the finish.  With the lack of malt character, the mouthfeel seems thin which aids in drinkability.  What sets this IPA apart from most others on the market is its sour grapefruit taste.  Overall this is a pretty good IPA with good drinkability.

Ska Modus Hoperandi - 4.5 pts

I was skeptical about putting the craft in the can.  Especially an IPA in a can, for some reason that seems extra naughty.  The Modus Hoperandi poured considerably darker than any of the other two.  There was a two fingered head resting on top of the brew.  The nose was very subdued without much hop character present.  The only nose I could get was some faint earthy aroma.  Not looking good for the new guy so far but taste is 99% of the law or something like that.  As the color would suggest, this brew starts somewhat malty with mellow caramel character that gives way to hop character.  The hops are beautifully blended in the brew and give you that delicious deep dark grapefruit taste.  All of this out of a can?  I'm sold.  This is definitely one of my new go to IPAs.  Looking for a canned beverage for your next boat outing?  Turn away from those bland lagers and embrace the Hoperandi.

Bells Two Hearted Ale - 4 points

This is one of my favorites in the realm of IPAs.  I've reviewed this brew before and professed my love for its bright citrus and lemony deliciousness.  The Two Hearted is the epitome of refreshing.  I love it.  Did I mention it's refreshing?


The throwdown is complete and the metal mouth took the cake.  My initial apprehension was put to rest and cans seem to be an acceptable vessel for craft.  This was not a blind test which tormented me mentally for a few minutes.  My initial response was that the Hopus Moderandi was my favorite.  Then my brand loyalty kicked in and I had second thoughts about defiling the Two Hearted with a canned craft brew.  I wrestled my inner demons and came back to my original gut instinct deeming the Modus Hoperandi the winner!  Take that you stupid demons.

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