The fighter’s dream…

Listen, Kid... Here's what ya gotta do: up up down down left right left right b a!

“Are ya crazy Jaipur?  Don’t ya know what they do to IPAs over there?”  “I know, I know, but I’m different.  I’m strong, can’t you see?  Don’t you believe in me?”  “Listen Japipur, you’re an amazing IPA here in Great Britain – you really show our weak IPAs what hops can do, but this is America!  Do you realize if you enter this tournament, you’d be up against Moylan’s NorCal IPA?  This is Moylan’s brewing we’re talkin’ about!  They’ll make mincemeat out of ya!”  “I gotta try.  NorCal is one muscled up IPA, but I’ve got to try.  I’ve worked so hard.  And I’ve got heart….and if that ain’t nuthin in this world, I don’t know what is, mate.”
“Allright Jaipur, you gots heart.  Don’t go chasing waterfalls though.  If you play with the big boys, you may get burned.  You’ve got heart kid; you’ve got that craft – the time and love and thought put into a great beer – but we’re talking an IPA tournament here.  These are the big boys.  Why, I heard they have some IPAs over 90 IBUs!”  “I have to do it.  I’ve got to bring honor back into my family.  We created the IPA for crying out loud.  I’ve been waiting for this day since I was bottled.”

Hop Chomp!

So here we are in the second fight of our Arkansas IPA Beer Battle.  As with every fight, there’s a story behind the fighter.  When ArkansasBeerBlog created this tournament and put out the call for fighters, we weren’t expecting an Englishman.  They’re all wimps, after all.  Session beers we call ‘em.  But then this beer walked in and had a spark behind his eyes.  He wasn’t your normal British IPA.  He said something about restoring honor, bringing back the championship, and something about fish and chips.  We chuckled at him, of course, but signed him up – after telling him about some of our 90+ IBU heavyweight – and expecting him to head back home.  It didn’t seem to faze him.  NorCal IPA was ready to show this kid a thing or two about American hops.

In the yellow corner, coming all the way from Bakewell, England, weighing in at 5.9% ABV and 55 IBUs, we have Thornbridge Brewing’s Jaipur IPA.  In the green corner, hailing Novato California and weighing in at 6.9% ABV and 70 IBU, we have Moylan’s Brewery NorCal IPA.

All right men, let’s have a good fight:

1st Round – Appearance .  Jaipur IPA comes out of the corner with blazing speed, though the head leaves you wanting.  A hazy pale yellow appearance makes this guy blend in with most other pale malt beers.  NorCal struts in the ring with authority, pouring a clear copper color with ruby highlights.  He’s looking like he owns the mat.  Jaipur took a beating this round.  Does that kid know what he’s gotten himself into?  9-10 Norcal.
2nd Round –  Smell.  NorCal starts this round swinging.  He throws big bitter citrus and pine punches.  His body punches are powerful with sticky caramel malts.  Jaipur is putting up a fight for this round, he’s showing off fancy footwork with a complex set of lemon and grassy hops, then he sticks and moves with floral and honey notes.  This is turning out to be a good round.  10-10 Split decision.
3rd Round – Mouthfeel.  Jaipur shook up Norcal, but he’s a vet and shows his focus here.   Jaipur’s weight doesn’t do him any good as he appears light and smooth on the tongue.  Norcal, however, shows off his malt backbone here, and combined with his medium-to-high carbonization, peppers the mouth with interestingness.  9-10 Nocal.

NorCal on the left, Jaipur on the right.

4th Round – Taste .  It looks like Norcal has taken control of this fight.   Norcal feels confident and starts to showboat.  He moves around jabbing huge pine notes with a nearly even amount of malt moves.  Jaipur steps in and does something amazing though.  Despite his size, he has finesse.    He has flavorful hops that excel in combination with his lighter malts – bam- lemon, pow- orange, bam- floral notes.  He is bringing complexity to the ring.  It seems Norcal doesn’t know what to think, he’s acting confused as Jaipur spins around him with more flavor.   They keep battling it out, but soon enough, Jaipur gives a one dimensional Norcal a high quality blow to the head.  Norcal is down for the count.  Jaipur wins with a KO!
Decision: Jaipur.  This is a classic boxing tale that many of us have heard before time and time again.  If a boxer has heart, he can win.  Jaipur had the heart.  We all agreed that more thought and love was put into this beer, while Norcal seemed like another guy in the hugely simcoe hopped IPA crowd.  Both are great, but Jaipur proved to stay interesting.

You can find these great beers at:

Thornbridge Brewing’s Jaipur IPA:
Colonial Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
Macadoodles – Springdale
The Bottle – Fayetteville
Springhill Wine & Spirits – North Little Rock
The Wine Rack – Hot Springs
71 South Liquor – Fort Smith

Moylan’s Brewery NorCal IPA
The Bottle – Fayetteville
The Wine Rack – Hot Springs
Macadoodles – Springdale
In Good Spirits – Fort Smith
Lake Liquor – Maumelle

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