Semi Finals: Englishman VS Kountry Boy

Dear Mum,
How I miss your face, as well as my dear family.  You would never believe it, but I won my first fight.  I came here to America, fought an American IPA, and I won.  When I first arrived, everyone laughed at me and called me Frenchie.  I tried to explain to them I’m from England, but they kept interrupting me saying “Aye gov-nah, fancy a wobbley bit?  Jibbity my crumpets mate!”  They told me I’d never last.  They were wrong.  I’m going to go for it Mum; I want the title.  I want to bring back honor to my family and England.  Wish me luck – I’m fighting someone from the South next.  I hear they don’t have electricity down there.  I also heard they drink and fight like the Irish; a group of heathens they are.  Wish me luck.  
God save the queen,


Dear maw,

I are doing gud in ‘dis here wrastlin match.  Plez send me sum grits.  I fightin’ sum fanchy freench boy next.  He tawks funie.  


As you join us for our semifinals, the drama increases.  Yes, there have been some upsets, and there have been some locks.  Nevertheless, we have separated the men from the boys, so to speak.  These final four beers have proved to be worthy of  tournament advancement, and they plan on fighting for the title.  We have brother versus brother and import versus local.  You can’t make this stuff up.

The legendary Bryan Olerige

We decided to bring in some help for this tournament.  Now we’re not complaining about having to taste multiple IPAs, but you have to make sure your palate is in check while doing this.  If you ever drink a nice friendly IPA, then drink a very strong imperial IPA, and then tried the friendly IPA again – you will be amazed.  The friendly IPA will taste like a watered down lager after a big strong IPA – because your palate can become acclimated to flavor.  We wanted to avoid this with some good food to balance out our flavor sensors, as well as a guest judge stepping in for the semifinals and final round.  He is one of our followers, and a local celebrity.  Why the famous status?  He’s one of the two people (out of hundreds) that have defeated the “Bud Light VS Coors Light Challenge.”  If you recall, we discussed this challenge a while back – but just to bring you up to speed:  If you think you can blindly tell the difference between a cold Coors light and a cold Bud light, you are (most likely) wrong.  99.9% of the time, it’s impossible.  But, as we know, there are a few people who are the .1%.  Our guest judge Bryan Olerige is one of them.  He not only beat the challenge, but this guy blindly identified Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Light, Busch Light, Busch, and a few more!  Which is amazing!  Again, I want to emphasize the difficulty of this challenge – and how most people think it would be easy.  The next time you have a party, ask someone to try the challenge (four cups, two bud light, two coors light) and bet some money – you’ll be rich!  We have grown so accustomed to the marketing difference between Bud Light and Coors light, we think it’s a sure thing.  Take it from a beer geek – they all taste the same.

Now, let’s get on to the fight.  We have our judges ready.  We’ve already covered the basic qualities of each beers, so we are deviating from the norm here with a few different types of rounds.  Both fighters are ready.  The excitement is in the air….
In the blue corner; chewing on tobacco and hailing from St. Genevieve, Missouri, weighing in at 6.5% ABV, Charleville Hoptimistic. In the yellow corner, from Bakewell, England, weighing in at 5.9% ABV, we have Thornbridge Brewing’s Jaipur IPA.
First Round – Flavor Balance:  It seems Hoptimistic comes in subtle here.  He’s just a warm hearted southern boy, after all, and he isn’t too daring.  He has good balance, but he doesn’t have that aggression we see in standard power-hopped IPAs – he stays calm with big orange and citrus notes.  Jaipur comes out, and though he seems smaller in size compared to Hoptimistic, he is entertaining to watch.  He has moves.  He has heart – and the aggression to get what he wants.  He packs some hops that surprise you, just like a fancy move a boxer learned on the street. Interesting floral notes and grapefruit really entertain a crowd.  Jaipur won this round 10-9.

Second Round – Food Compatibility:   One major consideration with IPAs is the compatibility with food – beer is the ultimate food compliment.  We have some spicy Mexican fajita chicken and rice to go with these IPAs because hops emphasis spicy flavor.  Hoptimistic comes out and seems very refreshing and quaffable with the meal.  His kind southern heart doesn’t overpower any flavors.  Jaipur steps up to the challenge, however.  His mix of citrus hops make the spice in the chicken heat up for more enjoyment, and the floral notes and honey seems to blend the spice flavors for accentuation.  Another round for Jaipur 10-9.

What would you want?

Third Round – The restaurant question:  One of our guidelines for this tournament is the restaurant question; stating that if you went into a restaurant and requested a good IPA, would the beer you are drinking impress you?  After much discussion and debate, we decided that while Hoptimistic had the local pride and the kindness of a good southerner, Jaipur just has more moxie.  He impresses you more, and therefore he’d be the better IPA to be served at a restaurant.

Ladies and gentlemen, your winner by unanimous decision…Jaipur

Look at me, Mum!

You can find these wonderful beers here:

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

Alpine Liquor – Eureka Springs
Arka Valley Liquor – Atkins
Cheers Liquor – Springdale
Colonial Wine &  Spirits – Little Rock
County Line Liquor – Springdale
Crossover Liquor – Fayetteville
Fiesta Liqour – Springdale
Lawson Liqour – Little Rock
Macadoodles – Springdale
Premier Wine & Spirits – Fayetteville
Springhill Wine & Spirits – North Little Rock
Sullivant’s Liqour – Little Rock
The Bottle – Fayetteville
The Ridge Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
The Wine Rack – Hot Springs
Beef O’ Brady’s – Fort Smith
In Good Spirits – Fort Smith
71 South Liquor – Fort Smith
Empire Liqour – Fort Smith
Liquor Mart – Fort Smith
Shamrock Liquor – Fort Smith
On the Border Liquor – Fort Smith
Vincent’s Fine Wine & Liquor – Texarkana
Maumelle Wine & Spirits – Maumelle
Lake Liquor – Maumelle
Markham Street Liquor – Little Rock
Service Liquor & Wines – Hot Springs
O’Looney’s – Little Rock


6 thoughts on “Semi Finals: Englishman VS Kountry Boy

  1. redbird says:

    Cheers from a beer geek who used to live in Arkansas, but now in St. Louis. Wes A. sent me a link to your blog and I’ll be sure to continue to check it out.

    Hoptimistic is definitely close to the bottom of Missouri IPAs, but I’ve never had Jaipur so I might have to check that out.

    Why didn’t you include a Diamond Bear IPA in the tourney?

    1. arbeergeek says:

      Thanks Redbird! I have to say I’m jelous of you living in St. Louis – they have a really wonderful craft beer scene. We love Diamond Bear beers and love supporting a local brewery even more. Unfortunately we do not have as many details about their beers (availability, etc) as we do our other IPAs. Plus Diamond Bear didn’t show up to the sign up day. Thanks again for reading!

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