In the realm of appearances, these 20 IPAs lined up for scrutiny. Labeling was stripped away, and participants faced an unadorned array of brews. The diversity in color, ranging from amber to pale gold, was noticeable. Some brews boasted a luscious, lingering head, while others fizzled out quickly. The visuals, however, failed to hint at the trials awaiting our panel.


The olfactory journey commenced with a barrage of hop profiles. A symphony of citrus, pine, and floral notes wafted through the air. A few surprises emerged as panelists encountered unexpected bursts of tropical fruit, while others were left craving a more robust aromatic experience. The scent was a precursor to what lay ahead, providing a tantalizing glimpse into the IPAs’ aromatic complexities.


The taste test unfolded with an intriguing mix of flavors, as the panelists grappled with the challenge of discerning American-style or West Coast nuances. From bold, bitter punches to subdued malt sweetness, the spectrum was wide. Some brews revealed their true character as classic IPAs, while others left lingering doubts, with panelists occasionally mistaking them for different substyles. The taste exploration proved to be both captivating and confounding.


Navigating through a sea of hop bitterness, the mouthfeel evaluation presented a range of textures. Some IPAs embraced a silky smoothness, while others bordered on the harsh and astringent. Carbonation levels danced between lively effervescence and muted subtlety. The experience was a rollercoaster for the taste buds, demanding attention to the finer details of each brew’s mouthfeel dynamics.


As the dust settled on this IPA gauntlet, the overall impressions were a mixed bag. While some beers shone as exemplary representations of the style, others faltered, leading to raised eyebrows among the panelists. The blind tasting format, coupled with the surprise revelation of the beer styles, added an element of unpredictability to the evaluations. Panelists, wrestling with palate fatigue and limited availability, provided scores that reflected both commendation and critique.

In a notable disclosure from our editor, Danny, the intention was to capture a snapshot of the beers available in 2018. Acknowledging potential queries from brewers, Danny emphasized the logistical challenges of sourcing the freshest renditions. The experiment, with its flaws and successes, serves as a mirror reflecting the reality of consumer choices. Breweries and representatives are urged to scrutinize this piece, as it stands as a testament to the public’s perception of their products.

In conclusion, this blind panel test served as a rigorous examination of 20 American-style IPAs. Palates were tested, expectations challenged, and the outcome unveiled the intricate tapestry of flavors within this beloved beer category. Cheers to the diverse world of IPAs, where surprises abound and every sip tells a unique story.