Insight’s East VS. West Fan Voting
The phenomenon that is the East Coast IPA is slowly starting to populate the craft beer scene in the Midwest. Insight Brewing Company wants to see whether their fans prefer the East Coast IPA or the West Coast IPA. They are packaging a mixed 4-pack of 16 oz. cans that are hitting the shelves now. Each pack has 2 West Coast IPAs and 2 East Coast IPAs. These two beers will also be available on tap all over town. People are encouraged to try both and then tweet at Insight using the hashtag of either #eastwins or #westwins to voice which variant they prefer. The beer that garners the most votes will be put into production on a much larger scale and be available this summer.
West Coast IPA
So, what is the difference between a West Coast IPA and an East Coast IPA? West Coast IPAs are a lot more assertive and abrasive from a hop bitterness standpoint. They are big on citrus and piney flavors and aromas. The mouthfeel is often a resiny one. A good West Coast IPA will have a big enough malt character to balance out the hoppiness of the beer. The focus on this beer is much more with the bittering hops added early on in the boil.
East Coast IPA
An East Coast IPA is a lot juicier when it comes to aroma and flavor. With this style, a lot of hops are added in a process called dry-hopping. Dry hopping means that a brewer adds a lot of hops during the secondary fermentation to intensify the hop aroma without affecting the flavor of the beer too much. As a result of this aggressive dry-hopping, the beer is extremely hazy and cloudy. These beers are incredibly fresh and the flavors are not nearly as oppressive as those in a West Coast IPA.
Insight’s West is a 7.6% ABV beer and 92 IBU. This is officially their biggest IBU beer (Dankbot is next with 91 IBU) and definitely represents a West Coast IPA with aplomb. The hops used in this beer are Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade. It is full of resiny and piney flavors. West has a nice caramel flavor to it from the malt used to balance out the assertive hop presence. It finishes dry with some residual bitterness that lingers on the tongue.
Insight’s East clocks in at 6.4% ABV and has 41 IBU. The color is a nice marmalade orange. The aroma is on par with other East Coast IPAs I have tried with big and fresh aromas of citrus, orange peel, and tropical fruits. There is a slight bitterness to the flavor, but much more dialed back than in the West Coast IPA. The mouthfeel has the hallmark chewiness to it from the dry-hopping. The hops used in East are Citra and Mandarina Bavaria. A fun fact about this beer is that it uses more hops in the dry-hopping stage than the entire amount of hops used in Troll Way IPA.
So, get out and try these beers for yourself. I think that you will enjoy both of them. I cannot say what my favorite was because I don’t want to sway your vote one way or the other. What I will say is that they are both great representations of the styles and it should be a fun process.
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