No style post this week. After 14 straight weeks, I need a break. Check back next week. We have dozens left to cover.
Recently, this article about a blind tasting of 116 of America’s best IPAs got my attention. What made me do a double take at the results was that Good People IPA rated higher than Russian River Blind Pig. Out of 116 beers, the Good People IPA was #24. Blind Pig was unceremoniously in the unranked 51-116 list.
You probably know who Russian River is. They are purveyors of some of the finest beers in the country. But you may not have heard of Good People unless you live in the Southeast. Good People, from Birmingham AL, opened in 2008 and distribute only in Alabama and Tennessee. They are one of the South’s best breweries and make tasty beers I enjoy drinking. (This Good People IPA was serendipitously sitting in my beer fridge when the article ran. Obviously, it’s gone now.)
Good People is regularly in my daily-drinker rotation. But, if I were in an IPA mood and my local Nashville beer retailer somehow had Blind Pig on the shelf, I’d choose it over all others. But that decision is not about quality, it’s about scarcity. I’ve noticed we all seem to think more highly of a beer we can’t get regularly, all the while, ignoring the great local brewery right down the road.
There are some interesting points in this article, but it was a blind tasting so reviewers were not influenced by status and scarcity. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and would like to believe they only tasted fresh beers. I’ve had many of these IPAs and agree with a lot of their picks, But, in the end, what does this article prove?
Beer is subjective.
Every mouth is different and we all perceive our beer a little differently. Also, don’t let a brewery’s reputation, whether good or bad, influence your assessment before you even taste the beer. Sometimes, ignore the branding and focus on what you’re smelling and tasting.
Most importantly, do you enjoy the beer in your glass? Good. That’s all that really matters.