Inaugural IPA Showdown | A Recap

IPA Showdown - Posner Center

IPA Showdown – Posner Center

Here’s the scene: you’re out with your friends at a new-to-you dive bar, and the question of what everyone is going to drink naturally comes up.

“I feel like an IPA, I think. Oh, they have Titan! That’s the best. I’ll have one of those,” you say.

“But they have Avery IPA! That’s the best IPA in Colorado!” your friend says.

Then you two compare and contrast the merits of why each of your favorite Colorado IPA’s are better than the other.

Sound kind of familiar?

Well, it was time to put Colorado’s most prominent single IPA’s to the test against each other. Shawnee Adelson, lover of all things sudsy, awesomely decided to put together the first-of-many-to-come showdowns featuring Colorado IPA’s (and one pale ale, technically) that one could easily find in their local liquor store. The plan: take these staple local IPA’s and have guests blindly taste test them, rank them in order of preference and then have the guests guess what they were.

The guests had the option of knowing what all seven beers were ahead of time, but many–including myself–opted to go in completely blind.

The beers:

The event was held at the Posner Center for International Development, a very cool office space located on 33rd and Arapahoe near Curtis Park. Fifteen guests attended the event on Nov. 15 on a pretty snowy evening. The showdown started with Shawnee explaining the rules of the game while refreshments, light snacks and palate cleansers and personalized notecards for scoring were provided.

After we were all seated, the beers were poured in a separate office away from the event space one at a time. Only the people pouring knew the order in which each beer would come as they were just labeled by numbers one through seven. After all seven of the beers were poured (about 3-4 ounce of each beer), guests could then start discerning the many differences between the beers, such as color, smell, taste and overall quality.

After much deliberation and voting, the notecards were gathered and tallied up, first by who could correctly identify the most beers, and then by what beer reigned supreme! The best part about this event had to be the results we all came to as some were pretty surprising.

And, drumroll please:

IPA showdown results

Written results of the winners and losers!

In order, here were the results:

  1. India Pale Ale – Odell Brewing Company
  2. Modus Hoperandi – Ska Brewing Co. 
  3. Dale’s Pale Ale – Oskar Blues Brewery
  4. Ranger IPA – New Belgium Brewing
  5. India Pale Ale – Avery Brewing Company
  6. Lucky U IPA – Breckenridge Brewery
  7. Titan IPA – Great Divide Brewery

Many guests were surprised by their own choices in favorites. For me, Odell IPA was the only beer that held together after it had warmed up to room temperature, and I could recognize it anywhere. Dale’s isn’t always my favorite, but I think it helped that we had a batch that was just canned three days prior to us drinking it–it was the tastiest it’s ever been for me!

It was a big shock for most that Titan came in last place. However, we all agreed that there was something a little off with the batch we were drinking, as it didn’t even taste like a normal version of itself. It could have skewed the results a bit in the end.

In summary, living in Colorado spoils craft beer fans as we have a pretty diverse and ever-growing culture of fine brews to sip on. That being said, it brings up the question of quality control amongst the drinkers–I think Adelson discovered a fun and meaningful way to sit down with friends to ponder this notion. There’s a good chance you could be invited to a gathering just like this one in the near future. If you are, I would highly recommend attending!

What should the next style showdown be?

About Jasmin Hudacsek

Editor for Denver off the Wagon and avid black coffee drinker.

  • focusonthebeer

    Nothing from Colorado Springs? 🙁 Great idea though!

    • PJ

      Not in this round, but we’ll make sure to next time! What IPA would you put in from C. Springs?

  • Fletchmonger

    I would say this list pretty much reflects my preference in IPAs, with Odell and Ska being #1 and 2, and Titan being last. You say something was off with your Titan batch, but I feel that way nearly every time I have a Titan these days. That beer has fallen off. Surprised about Avery though.