Blind Taste Test – DFW IPAs #1

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This is a first in a new series of posts for the blog where we try out four different beers and rank them.  Since Michelle was joining me in this review, and she loves IPAs, that seemed like a logical place to start.  Read below to find out how it went.

There are a lot of options here in DFW, so I decided to stay very local with the following contenders:

  1. Martin House Brewing’s Friday IPA – I’ve tried this one before and previously gave it a 3.75 rating on Untappd, so I expected it to be solid here as well.
  2. Legal Draft’s Smash and Grab IPA – I tried this at a recent visit to the brewery and gave it a 4.0 on Untappd, the best of the 3 beers that I’ve tried before.
  3. Oak Highlands’ Derelict IPA – This one got a 3.75 from me at a brewery visit last year.
  4. Rahr’s Dadgum IPA – The only one I haven’t tried before, I had no idea what to expect.

We took turns here, with Michelle first putting tasters of the 4 beers randomly in front of me, and then I returned the favor. In the end, we didn’t agree on a favorite, but our rankings were similar.

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1a. Oak Highlands Brewery – Derelict IPA (Me: 1st Michelle: 2nd)

This one surprised me a bit.  I’ve had it before but didn’t really remember it.  I thought it had a good citrus flavor with a mild bitter finish and it was the perfect amount of refreshing for the afternoon.  Michelle’s only comment was that it was ‘OK’. (My instructions to her were to just rank them, I’m not expecting advanced commentary from her… her expertise is in the photography)

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1b. Martin House Brewing – Friday IPA (Me: 2nd Michelle: 1st)

I did spend a bit of time considering putting this one first, but it didn’t have quite the same flavor punch that the Derelict did.  My opinion is much the same as when I tried it during the beer challenge.  Very light and easy to drink with mild fruit and hop flavor. And, fitting the name, it would be a great beer to start the weekend with. Michelle didn’t have a lot to say about it, but it was her favorite of the tasting.

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3. Legal Draft – SMaSH and GRAB IPA (Me: 3rd Michelle: 3rd)

This is another one that I reviewed previously, and it didn’t seem quite as good this time. I don’t know if it is just the different between having it on tap at the brewery and from a can, but it lost a little something this time around.  There was a little bit of floral hop flavor but I didn’t taste much else.  A slight bitter finish, but in the end it didn’t stand out like the first two did.  Michelle didn’t think it was an IPA at all.  She still liked it better than the final beer, but it definitely didn’t meet her standards.  She also tried this one at the brewery and enjoyed it, so I really do think there could have been an issue with the can.

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4. Rahr – Dadgum IPA (Me: 4th Michelle: 4th)

I thought this was a bland IPA.  Pretty lacking in hop flavor, not very bitter, and average overall at best.  The can says that there is intense fruit flavors, but I just didn’t get that. Compared to the other three, it was like drinking water.  Michelle couldn’t even finish her whole taster.  We won’t be picking this one up again.

Summary

In the end, it was a virtual tie.  I really enjoyed both the Derelict IPA and the Friday IPA, as I expected I would.  The SMaSH and Grab was a bit surprising, and I suspect that either there was something not right with the can (compared with the version I had on tap), or my rating at the brewery skewed high because I enjoyed the overall experience there so much. Rahr’s beer was a bit of a disappointment, but not too surprising to me.  I enjoy a lot of their beer, but it’s usually their darker beers that I’ve liked.  I’m definitely going to pay more attention to Oak Highlands going forward!

Let me know if there is anything you would like me to try next, as we are ready for another tasting soon!

Gallery of pictures: http://www.michellecarriere.com/blindtaste

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