Prelude to Burning Can: Upslope IPA and Imperial IPA

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Get excited people, because Burning Can in Lyons is almost upon us! For $30, anyone can spend three hours Saturday drinking unlimited beer from 50+ breweries from a tiny can. You can even camp on or near a baseball field! In other words it’s nothing like Burning Man, but it’s still a good time.

Anyways, in preparation for the beer fest that celebrates breweries that can their brews, I’ve taken a look at two from Boulder-based Upslope Brewing: Their IPA and Imperial IPA. I tried their IPA once last year and haven’t had it since, and I’ve never had their Imperial. So I thought I’d compare.

 

Upslope India Pale Ale

Sight and Smell: A hazy copper with a big beige head and sticky lacing. It smells like a little bit of caramel, sharp citrus and toast.

Taste: Lots of hop coming out, with less of the citrus and more of the bitter. There’s a lot of caramel there to back up a catty, minty hoppiness that lingers. Honestly, I think it’s a weird one, but it’s still balanced.

Grade: B. I could see a lot of people liking this IPA, with lots of hop and malt flavor packed into a tiny can. All the components of a good IPA are there. Problem is, the flavors came out a little weird for me. That’s neither a good or bad thing. This falls under the category of solid beers I probably wouldn’t choose as my first option.

 

Upslope Imperial India Pale Ale

Sight and Smell: A clear, dark amber with a little bit of bubble, a fine white head and more sticky lacing. It has a pleasant, but lighter smell than the IPA, with a little bit of citrus (maybe store brand orange juice?) and a light pine and honeydew.

Taste: This one coats your mouth in the best of ways. In the middle is a little bit of honey, dried pineapple, light melon and some tangelo. There’s caramel, bready sweetness up front, with some piney hops in the back. This one has 90 IBUs (very bitter), but they come across as flavor instead of tongue-lacerating bitterness. Oh, and the 10% ABV hits at the end, but blends with the flavors like buttah.

Grade: A-. It’s juicy, well balanced and big. Not much more you can ask from an imperial IPA. It’s not as bold or complex as some others, but it’s gulpable and kind of kicks your ass in a way that leaves you satisfied.

Who wins? Easily the bigger of the two. There’s more flavor, more kick, and more going for it. Both are solid beers, and a lot of people might prefer the IPA over the Imperial. But for me, the bold-but-mellow goodness of the Imperial IPA wins out this time.

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