May 5, 2014
UK Top Ten IPAs
The list came about due to the inspiration found in Andy Parker’s recent blog ‘Rule Britannia’ where Andy talks about “coveting beers from the US”. The task itself, was simple wasn’t it? Take to the Twittersphere to gain opinion as to a favoured ten or so beers and put them into the list. Only it wasn’t that simple. WIthin a couple of hours the list has reached 50-odd suggestions and things were running away with me, so I once again took to the Twittersphere to ask for advice and was offered the following suggestions…
From Boak and Bailey “it’s your poll, so you can set rules, e.g must be over 5% ABV. If they annoy people, it’s all part of the fun!” and then from Chris Hall “My advice: list EVERYTHING, don’t categorise. IPA packed with subjective interpretations. Voting takes care of the rest :)”.
Even with these suggestions, I still thought that 50 plus choices on a survey wouldn’t give me a comprehensive result, so I chose a far more ‘scientific’ way of filtering down to the 20 listed below. Simply put, it would be the RateBeer score + Untappd score = the highest 20 scores. Also, that each brewery could only have one entry, so their highest scoring beer only would count (shame to have lost Thornbridge Jaipur & Brewdog Punk IPA to this rule). So with ‘The Rules’ in place, it was time to open the vote.
Now, the thing about surveys is that according to researchy types, you need to hit a certain number to make the results ‘valid’. Therefore I spoke to my research team at the day job and they told me that using the number of current Twitter followers that we have as a ‘sample’ would mean that we would need at least 320 responses to make the results valid. In the end, just over 500 people cast votes across the 2 polls, so one could suggest that these results are valid. In the end only 7 votes separated the top 3 so it shows just how passionate beer folk are about their IPAs.
Anyway, enough preamble, you want the results, so here there are, with supporting tasting notes for the top 3 from some of our blogger friends.
1. Marble Dobber, 5.9% ABV
In an age where the American IPA rules, Marble Dobber stands out as something that’s quintessentially British. Of course, it’s taken its lead from the modern craft brewing movement – the huge tropical hop blast attests to that – but it certainly doesn’t pander to expectations or indulge in faddishness. The Pacific hops and zesty bitterness are well-balanced by a robust malt character that puffs its chest out and resolves to stand its ground. In the background, tingling floral notes dance merrily round the mouth, weaving their way into an aromatic aftertaste. There’s simply no mistaking it. Thanks to Connor Murphy from Beer Battered for the words.
2. Magic Rock Brewing Cannonball 7.4% ABV
Cannonball is a big juicy tart of a beer. Succulent Jaffa orange along with loads of bitter pith like you are eating an orange like you’d chomp on an apple. Resinous pine that makes you think you’d spent a month “getting friendly” with big redwoods in Oregon whilst hiking with an opened rucksack of T90 hop pellets. Yes it shows balance and restraint but on it own terms, not yours. Thanks to Rob Derbyshire from Hopzine for the words.
3. The Kernel Citra IPA, 6.9% ABV
The latest version of this seminal IPA from Kernel shines like a glass of illuminated tropical fruit juice, with more of an appetising hop haze than outright murkiness. That signature freshness in all of Kernel’s great pale beers is more than evident in the aroma – a huge blossoming cloud of citrus, grapefruit and lime in particular. The beer zooms across the palate with juicy intensity: grapefruit, lime, mango and orange exploding in zesty and pulpy blasts. But for all this intensity, there’s also judicious balance. The huge, bold flavours are never overpowering, if anything, each sip becomes a gulp as you want even more. The firmly sticky-sweet malt base is just the fuel for this effervescent, majestic and wonderfully fruity IPA that comfortably takes on and beats the Americans at their own game. Thanks to Chris Hall from The Beer Diary for the words.
So there you have it – an experiment in public opinion with possibly a surprising winner. In hindsight, it would have been interesting had Thornbridge’s Jaipur and Brewdog’s Punk IPA had been included, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Thanks to everyone who voted and stay tuned, I might run a series of these…