On Saturday, I was judging at the first leg of the National Homebrew Club national competition in Sallins at the wonderful Lock 13 pub. Actually, almost a brewpub because the brewery is there and being put together at the moment.
I was judging Specialty IPA which includes the relatively new style North East or New England IPA. For calibration, we drank some Cloudwater IPA as it qualifies as that style. One of the main differences between a NEIPA and traditional AIPA is the body. It's a thicker, soupy looking beer with yeast and in particular oats to add body. They lack the dry, crisp notes you get from other east or west coast examples. They are also very juicy. It's really all about trying to replicate Heady Topper, a beer I haven't had myself.
The cloudwater IPA was absolutely divine and so moreish for the ABV. I have never had an IPA with that smooth, soft body before. Oh and if you're wondering, we had to NEIPAs out of the 12 specialty IPAs we judged. One was amazing, better even than the cloudwater in many respects but it wasn't quite as soft in body so had a slight crispness about it. The second was good but it was like they were trying to fake it somehow. It's hard to explain.
Perhaps it's fitting that after the judging and the afters at the pub, we got home before 2am and decided to have a few more samples before bed while very tired. With that in mind, a beer called Red Eye Flight just made perfect sense. I only noticed it was a coffee porter after I opened it. Thankfully, it didn't interfere with my sleep.
It's very oily while somehow remaining quite thin. There's plenty of coffee and chocolate and perhaps it's because it was a long palette fatiguing day but it just seemed to be lacking something. It's worth mentioning though that it scores a 99 on Ratebeer so plenty of people think it's great.