Today I decided to put a couple of new beers to our market in a head to head battle. Both showed up here in Louisiana this week, and both are versions of the same style, the newly popular session IPA.
Founders All Day IPA is, according to their website, “the beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.” It weighs in at 4.7% ABV and 42 IBUs.
Here’s Stone’s description of Go To IPA: “Since Day One, we’ve been abundantly forthright and fully transparent about our lust for hops. It’s led us to craft many an IPA, most of them imperial—some intense for their time and all timeless in their intensity. For Stone Go To IPA, we are embracing our hop obsession in a new way, funneling an abundance of lupulin-borne bitterness into a “session” IPA delivering all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA. To accomplish this, we employed “hop bursting,” a new technique wherein an irrational amount of hops is added during the final phase of the brewing process to coax out extreme flavors and aromas while also imparting a burst of desirably pleasant bitterness. The result is an Alpha-acid-rich beer that fans can enjoy more of without missing out on the assertive hop character you, like us, crave. So, sit back and go two with your new everyday go-to IPA and bask along with us in the glory of the almighty hop.” It weighs in at 4.5% ABV and 65 IBUs.
The Founders All Day IPA was poured from a 12-ounce can, and the Stone Go To IPA from a 12-ounce bottle.
Appearance: As you can see from the picture, both are light in color, with the All Day IPA having a bit more amber hue to it. The Go To IPA is brilliantly clear with a golden-orange hue. I lean toward the Stone one here.
Aroma: The All Day IPA has a citrusy aroma that’s understated. There’s a bit of malt sweetness to it as well. The Go To IPA has a pronounced pine aroma with a hint of citrus and little malt. Advantage: Stone
Taste: All Day IPA is a well balanced IPA, with an initial hop flavor that is balanced by the smooth malt finish. On the other hand, the Stone Go To IPA features a brighter hop punch in the mouth, and is decidedly Stone. It has a distinctive pine and grapefruit flavor that is vibrant. The hops are with you from first sip and stick around, despite little to no back end bitterness. Stone wins this one again.
Mouthfeel: The All Day IPA is light bodied with an overall smoothness. The Go To IPA pops in your mouth, even though it’s a light-bodied beer. Truthfully, this one is a draw.
Overall: The All Day IPA lives up to its name. It truly is an IPA I could drink one after another. It’s pleasantly flavorful, but not so much as to get tiresome. The Go To IPA is decidedly more hop forward and it’s actually pretty amazing that they packed so many hops into such a small package. However, I’d be hard pressed to drink more than a couple in a row. This one is a draw as well.
In the end, it’s tough to say which one is the winner. I really enjoy the vibrant hops featured in the Stone Go To IPA. They really shine through, and make for a brilliantly hoppy, yet sessionable beer. But the All Day IPA has the advantage of being the beer that I’d drink one after the other of. It’s also in cans, which makes it really nice for outdoor activities. The price point is a bit lower as well ($20 for 15 cans vs. $11 for 6 bottles). I can see that I’ll drink plenty of both of these beers in the future. It’s nice to finally have a couple options for hoppy beers at a sub-5% ABV here in Louisiana.
If you forced me to pick one, I’d probably go with the Stone, as it is hoppier. But I’ll be perfectly content with either.
But don’t take my word for it. Grab one of each and try them side by side. When you do, let me know what you think.