...Travis to the left, MNB to the right...
There has been a battle over beer out there, citizens. A battle between blue and grey, north and south, brewer and brewer. And, as is so often the case, it is the Canadian who is asked to step in an clear things up.
Here is what I know about the combatants: Travis posts here sometimes but generally blogs at CNYBrew.com. He's the northerner (but not that far north). The southerns are the lads at Monday Night Brewing. Georgians who are nowhere near Armenia. Pro brewers who only lack a brewery, a license to sell and accounts to, you know, buy the stuff. The two sides contacted me and I determined to bring peace to the nation, to smooth the path to reconciliation, to get them to send me free beer. Here are my criteria for judging:
- Can they locate Canada?
- Can they get the beer to Canada?
- Is the beer good?
- Is one better than the other?
- Are there, err, another other factos I should take into account?
Both pour a similar orange amber with Travis's exploding forth into three glasses. It is a Bamburgian take on IPA with a still prickly sort of Ungespundet mouthfeel. There is a bit of a black pepper twing to the beer that reminds me of Schneider Weisse. Is that good or bad or is this the birth of the hefe-IPA? The Monday Night Brewery IPA is much more the classic eastern US take with a soft water profile and creamy wall of malt. It reminds me of cask IPA at Gritty McDuff's on tap in Portland Maine.
Both are fine brews and both beers I would happily tap a cask of anytime - that is an invitation to compare draughts, laddies. But is one better than the other? I think the southern beer has to get the nod on the technical basis of its stability, its ability to be poured in no more than two 16 oz glasses. But where the really bust out is in the graft giving: two beers that I can't get in Yankee beer shopping land as well as a MNB glass. Sweet.
Fortunately, while appearances of conflict abound, I can confirm the judging was based on the beer...pretty much. Travis himself bows to the south and has admitted defeat. Next time I hear I will be judging express couriered ten pound BBQ meat assortments from these guys favorite joints. I'll let you know how that goes.