To read about the King of Ohio IPA Contest, click HERE
To vote for Ohio beers in all other regions such as Columbus, Cleveland, Cinci and Dayton, Akron an Youngstown click HERE!
Beers in Consideration:
Unfortunately for us, the Toledo area has the fewest amount of breweries out of any of the regions in this contest. We have a grand total of nine breweries in the region, two of which are on islands; Put in Bay and Kelly’s Island, and are both currently off season. That leaves us with seven; but Alexandria’s in Findlay, while pictured on the Ohio Craft Beer Map at http://ohiocraftbeer.com/breweries/brewerymap.cfm, technically serves beer brewed by Rochester Mills, which is in Michi… I mean… that state up North. So we’re down to six. Then there is Sugar Ridge in Bowling Green which serves an IPA, but not until spring. Then, to make matters worse, Catawba Island (which is a great up and coming brewery in the area) only had two IPAs listed on their site, and neither were pure IPAs (a black and double), so they were not suitable for this contest.
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with any of the aforementioned breweries, but it’s kind of hard to do a “best of” challenge with only four beers to choose from!
Regardless, here are the breweries with IPA’s in contention: Father John’s, Flatrock Brewing, Maumee Bay, and Great Black Swamp.
PLEASE VOTE! Your selection will be in the finals in Columbus, OH on Nov. 1st!
Though we have a great, close relationship with Maumee Bay Brewing Company, in the interest of fairness, we decided to include a third party to aid us in a blind taste test. The following are our tasting notes of the brews we sampled, and we will determine in our opinion which is the best IPA in the Toledo region.
Listed below are our winners, in order, from most preferred to least.
1. Hop Goblin IPA – Flatrock Brewing Company
Flatrock Brewing, just southwest of Toledo, is a small craft brewery in the town of Holgate, Ohio. For just 10 dollars, we scored an awesome mini-growler of their Hop Goblin American IPA, which they describe as “an American IPA showcasing clean citrus flavors balanced with hop aroma and bitterness. Hopped with Simcoe, Chinook, Cascade, Columbus, and Willamette”.
We found this beer to be hay-yellow, murky and cloudy, with a lovely lacing left by a cream head. Tropical aromas such as gooseberry, mangos and other juicy fruits. The aromas are strong and very in-your-face. As for the flavor, there is a green-vegetal flavor followed by a cracker breadiness on the back end. There is a magnificent juicy hop character that finishes clean with a lovely lingering bittering. This was the best beer by far in the contest, and one that we are excited to bring to the final competition in November.
2. Great Black Swamp Wild Duck IPA
Great Black Swamp is one of Toledo’s TWO current breweries within city limits. Though they are a production brewery only at this point, they do have a number of offerings throughout the year including the Wild Duck IPA.
We were pleasantly surprised that this beer came in second in the competition; not because Great Black Swamp is a bad brewery, but nothing that we have had by them has blown our socks off.
Wild Duck IPA, according to Great Black Swamp is “a bold, assertive Northwest IPA that understands what hops and malt are for. Wild Duck IPA has a nice mouthful of hops with a big malt back bone and enough bitterness to hold it all together. Influenced by the home of the American IPA and all the great brewers and breweries of the Northwest, this brew is sure to make you long for the cloudy, wet, rainy days that good beer was made for.”
Wild Duck poured a golden amber color and was packed with floral, fruity aromas that came off slightly soapy. Overall, the aroma was pleasant but slightly weak. The flavor brought a very nice hop to malt ratio and stuck a nice balance between sweet and bitter. The beer finishes clean, with just the SLIGHTEST bitter lingering at the end. Flavors of lemongrass, tropical fruits like tangerine and oranges cover the palette. This beer didn’t wow us, but it was nice, clean, drinkable and refreshing.
3. Maumee Bay IPA (Soon-to-be-known-as Glass Hopper IPA)
The IPA I was most sure to steal the show comes in as a close third. According to Maumee Bay, IPA is a “Nicely balanced flavorful ale, made bitter with copious amounts of Centennial hops and a long fascinating history. A real treat for hopheads and the brewer’s favorite beer!”
This IPA was fairly dark in appearance. A dark copper ale with reddish hues and a cream colored head produced a fair lacing on the glass. The aroma was not as intense as I would have anticipated, but it did have a noticeable caramel presence. IPA’s aroma suggests it is a malt-forward IPA. The aroma was fairly bland and non-descript and sort of atypical of an IPA.
The flavor on IPA led to us to believe that this was indeed a malt-forward IPA. There is an earthy or “dirt”y profile to the flavor. Cardboard or sweet corn also is present on the palette. This IPA is not terrible, but it is not memorable in any way. This is very unlike other brews from Maumee Bay Brewing Comapny which leads me to a concern.
I am slightly concerned that the bottle we purchased from the local bottle shop may have been a little out of date as they have recently undergone a brand change on this beer.
4. IPA – Father John’s Microbrewery
Father John’s Microbrewery, located in the basement of a Church in Bryan, Ohio is a very small craft brewery that advertises 12 house brews that rotate seasonally. We have never had the opportunity to enjoy a brew from Father John’s so we were very excited to include them in the Toledo region bracket.
This IPA was the darkest of the bunch; deep, dark copper reddish brown with a cream colored head. The aroma literally caught us off guard with strong apple-like aromas and pungent nail polish remover. Intrigued, we took a sip and quickly found that the aroma translated directly to the flavor. This IPA tasted like half-fermented apple juice with very strange alcohol fusel flavors. The IPA finishes dry with a lingering bitter. Unfortunately for this brew, the lingering bitter is off-putting and unfortunately, not very good. This came in last place in our Toledo region bracket.
MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT OUR FRIENDS IN THE OTHER OHIO REGIONS BELOW!
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