Firestone Double Jack Double IPA walked away with the title at the LeMonds Family Imperial IPA tasting held at the Post-Ride Pub at 465 on May 14th. Hopworks Ace of Spades was second, followed Avery Maharaja. The event was part of a 50th birthday celebration for Diane LeMonds.
The evening began with 10 competitors – Beer Valley Leafer Madness (Oregon), Flying Dog Double Dog (Maryland), Oskar Blues Gubna (Colorado), Southern Tier Gemini (New York), Russian River Pliny the Elder (California), Deschutes Hop Henge (Oregon), and Walking Man Iron Man (Washington), along with Double Jack (California), Ace of Spades (Oregon), and Maharaja (Colorado).
Fourteen experienced tasters made up the judging panel. All beers were in the 8-11 percent range for ABV and sported 90+ IBUs. The first three rounds saw the elimination of two beers at each stage.
Double Dog was the near-unanimous choice for worst beer and was quickly axed in the first round along with Leafer Madness.
Hop Henge and Iron Man fell in round two, with early favorite Pliny the Elder dodging elimination by a single vote. Pliny could not escape again in round three and joined Gemini on the sidelines, leaving Ace, Maharaja, Double Jack, and Gubna in the final four. The Gubna fell as the field was reduced to three.
Firestone easily grabbed the title in the final round, garnering 10 of 14 first-place votes, while Ace of Spaces picked up three and Maharaja one.
Professional taster Paul Norris preferred Ace. “It’s powerful, crisp and perfectly filtered,” he said.
Veteran beer dog Jeff Lipton summed up the views of those who voted for Firestone. “It was very hoppy,’ Lipton said, “but it was also the smoothest and best balanced beer on the table.”
There was one negative side-effect of the tasting. As you may know, drinking can sometimes lead to karaoke. Some of it was less than harmonious.