Friday, January 25, 2013

2012 California IPA Tournament: Quarterfinals

The Great Eight.  I still prefer that moniker over Elite Eight.  Why did they change that, anyway?  Whatever.  The top eight lent themselves to a natural seeding- I added up the point totals from Rounds 1 and 4 and ranked the beers 1-8, and made the matchups accordingly.  You'll notice a pattern in these beers- they're invariably light in body, loaded with citrus, and relatively low in bitterness.  That's exactly why they're here- they all reflect what a California IPA is supposed to be.

Four more beers just can't quite make the leap.
Quarterfinal 1:
4) Kern River Just Outstanding (Kernville), 23 points in Rounds 1&4, $4.99/22oz, 6.8% ABV, 8.86 NSP, 2 (Matt, Samer)
5) Port Wipeout (San Marcos), 23 points, $4.99/22oz, 7.0% ABV, 9.12 NSP, 3 (Andy, Brendan, Brent)
These beers were pretty much identical in quality.  Kern (awarded the 4th seed by virture of a higher Round 4 score) wasn't nearly as pineapply as usual, even though it was as fresh as you can get it in San Diego (arrived in the store the day before).  So apparently Just Outstanding is a bit variable.  But I still thought it had enough to outpace Wipeout.  It was incredibly close, and ultimately the judges disagreed with me.

Quarterfinal 2:
3) Firestone Walker Union Jack (Paso Robles), 24 points, $10.99/6-pack, 7.5% ABV, 14.53 NSP, 2 (Andy, Brendan)
6) Russian River Blind Pig (Santa Rosa), 21 points, $4.90/500mL, 6.1% ABV, 6.43 NSP, 3 (Brent, Matt, Samer)
Another really close one.  I disagreed again- I thought Union Jack had a slightly cleaner finish.  Oh, and once again, Andy goes against Blind Pig.

Quarterfinal  3:
2) Ballast Point Sculpin (San Diego), 25 points, $14.99/6-pack, 7.0% ABV, 9.45 NSP, 1 (Samer)
7) Lagunitas (Petaluma), 20 points, $7.99/6-pack, 6.2% ABV, 16.55 NSP, 4 (Andy, Brendan, Brent, Matt)
Samer got pretty fired up about this one because he disagreed so strongly.  But he was the only one, including myself.  Next to Lagunitas, I found Sculpin to be a bit on the heavy and bitter side.  Lagunitas was nice and clean.

Quarterfinal 4:
1) Alpine Duet (Alpine), 29 points, $7.99/22oz, 7.0% ABV, 5.69 NSP, 5-0
8) Green Flash West Coast (San Diego), 18 points, $8.99/4-pack, 7.3% ABV, 11.53 NSP
The only unquestionable verdict of the quarterfinals, as Duet steamrolls on without even a wobble.  I don't think there's any argument that West Coast is an amazing beer, but it, like so many before it, couldn't keep up with Duet.

So that's three upsets, with 5-seeded Port Wipeout, 6-seeded Russian River Blind Pig, and 7-seeded Lagunitas moving on to the semifinals with top-seeded Alpine Duet.  The honorable vanquished: Kern River Just Outstanding, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Ballast Point Sculpin, and Green Flash West Coast.

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