I’m currently at the Hawthorne Hophouse, having just completed my sampler flight of 15 of the “best” Oregon-brewed IPAs (half priced at $6 on Mondays).
“Fifteen? Surely you mean 12, you drunken reprobate!” you might have caught yourself exclaiming.
No, I mean 15 because after I ran through the dozen IPAs (no Imperials, no Sessions, no Grapefruit-infused, no sage-pomegranate aged in tequila barrels for a year while having daily positive affirmations recited to it by the lead brewer), I asked if they’d deliver a run-off of my 3 faves to really seal the deal.
All January long, both Hophouse houses are running this event: a blind flight of 12 IPAs for 12 bucks ($6 on Mondays) and the winner, after voting solely based on taste and not presumptions, goes on the 1-tap for the whole year. Spoiler alert: There are no spoilers in this blog post.
It can easily be argued that if there are 185 brewing companies in Oregon (by MY count and I promise that’s up-to-date as of 1-5-15), then there are in the vicinity of 235 IPAs so how can they have narrowed it down to only a dozen? I hear you and agree, but take it up with their mgmt. For my part, I thought the 12 they selected were good calls based on reputation and taste. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Hophouse…
Order the flight and they bring you a tray of twelve 2.5-oz samples. Just enough to give you a good enough idea of which ones you liked, which ones you didn’t, and which ONE you loved. As alluded to, I loved three. What blew me away was that I told my wait person I suspected they were all new to my personal pantheon but, in fact, were actually the two of the three I would’ve picked based purely on assumption and bias. FWIW, my 4th place vote was one I always put in my Top 3. BTW, I have 5 top threes.
The blind tasting runs all month long. I’ll post a follow-up around February 1st with my tasting notes, scores, and the eventual winner. But for now, here are the IPAs as they appear on taps 1-12 on Hawthorne:
1. Boneyard RPM
2. Hop Valley Alphadelic
3. Crux Outcast
4. Breakside IPA
5. Ninkasi Total Domination
6. Ft. George Vortex
7. Laurelwood Workhorse
8. GoodLife Descender
9. Gigantic IPA
10. Migration Luscious Lupulin
11. Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack
12. Double Mtn. Hop Lava.
What do you currently claim as your favorite Oregon IPA? Are there any you feel they blatantly left off the list? Will you come in and “vote”? Hoppy New Year.
Didn’t you just “unblind” the taps? YOU’VE RUINED SCIENCE!
Ha. No, I promise! When you order the blind IPA flight, they serve them out of order, ie #1 on your tray is NOT #1 on tap. Then, when you’re done, they give you the actual sheet showing the order you taste them in. I will post that in February!
*Phew*. Science is saved. This guy is happy – http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/5227532d69beddec2391d35d/neil-degrasse-tyson-wants-to-go-to-europa–a-moon-with-an-ocean-of-water.jpg
I’m a local Bend beer drinker. Boneyard RPM is a local winner each year. It has a great flavor and easy to drink for an IPA. Crux Outcast is one of my favorites. It is very, very hoppy with a strong hoppy smell. Watch out it packs a punch! The other beers, on your list, that I thought were good were the Breakside and Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack. Breakside is a very good IPA. It has a fresh taste and easy to drink as well. The Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack is also very good with great flavor. It reminds me a lot of 10 Barrel’s Apocolypse IPA. Which bums me out that they are no longer a local company. Great job on your review from one beer snob to another. You hit it on the head!
My favorite is Boneyard Hop Venon followed by Crux Outcast, and then Boneyard RPM.
They forgot Pfriem IPA. It’s better than a bunch of those on the list.
Indeed, as I’d mentioned, when selecting only 12, there are sure to be blatant missing contenders. I don’t think it would’ve stood up, but I love Caldera’s easy-drinking IPA, too, but we too often forget our neighbors anywhere south of Eugene.