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Hop Mob Kickoff a raging success

The Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow kicked off yesterday at Brouwer’s Cafe. As anticipated, the place was packed. The crowd was there to celebrate the glory that is Triple IPAs — there were over 30 of them on tap. Don’t worry if you missed the event yesterday, this is a Roadshow and there are still six events remaining.  Check out the Hop Mob website for details about the events, the beers, and more.

Brouwer’s did a great job yesterday, managing the crowd and the vast selection of beers, offering taster-sized pours so people could taste as many of the beers as possible. They also hosted a judging panel that tasted all of the beers and selected the three top brews. It was a totally subjective endeavor, or course, because Triple IPA is not exactly an established style so it was really a matter of personal taste.

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I’ve rarely been involved in such a heated beer judging forum. Faced with the daunting task of tasting over 30 Triple IPAs, we were divided into groups and presented with a reasonable number of beers. There wasn’t much debate about which two beers would advance from the group in which I was placed: we all agreed, with little deliberation, which two beers should it make to the next round, but things got heated when all of us convened to judge the eight finalists. How is it that my favorite is your least favorite? And vice versa. Without clear style guidelines, it was really just a matter of picking the one you liked best and arguing your case. Not perfect, but still a worthwhile endeavor.

I think, happily, the problem stemmed from the fact that there were a lot of really, really good beers on the table. In the end, the votes were tallied and Snipes Mountain Brewing was at the top of the heap, followed by Standard Brewing and Stoup Brewing. But, there were so many good beers it was hard to call out “winners.”