Dodgers vs Yankees, Biggie vs. Tupac, LA vs NYC. And now joining those epic East Coast-West Coast rivalries are two breweries divided by the whole continent: Victory vs. Stone.
In this edition of the Brew-F-C, we are pitting one of the top West Coast breweries, Stone, against a popular East Coast brand, Victory Brewing. The very popular Stone comes to us from Escondido California, while Victory hails from Downington Pennsylvania. While both of these breweries put out some top notch IPA's, we decided to give a couple of their middleweight IPA's a shot in the cage.
Fighting out of the Victory corner is Hop Devil. It's a standard IPA that checks in at 6.7% ABV. In the Stone corner is Stone Go To IPA. It's basically a session IPA boasting a meager 4.5% ABV.
These are two pretty run of the mill IPA's, yet they bring two different styles to the fight. One a traditional IPA, the other a lighter session IPA. It's like the old UFC when a judo master would fight a kick-boxer. When put head to head, let's see if one can clearly outdo the other.
Judge 1 (Norm):
In my blind taste test the first beer I had was a bit malty and sweet. While there is defiantly hops to be had, there was also a slight soapy taste on the back end. There is the citrus taste you'd expect in any IPA, with a small amount of bitter, smokey flavor. Overall the first tasting was good, not great.
The second beer came in with it's own share of citrus grapefruit and pine flavor. A tad less bitter than the first and also a bit less malt. It's easy to see that this is the session IPA, and it's quite enjoyable and easy to drink.
Taste winner: Stone Go To 10/8
These beers are identically priced and readily available. Both breweries are distributed nationally, with Stone available in only a few more states than Victory, but has limited distribution in Wisconsin. Victory on the other hand is not distributed in Iowa.
Value winner: Draw 10/10
Hop Devil pours to a deep copper tone with nice head retention. Stone is a bit more clear in the glass. Hop Devil has the stronger nose of hops and malt sweetness. Stone has the citrus working for it.
Stones label looks like an affliction shirt with a NASCAR logo on it. Hop Devil's is way cooler and more festive. It's a cartoon devil hop, all right then.
Presentation winner: Hop Devil 10/9
This was a hard one to judge due to the differing styles. In the mood for a heavier, but not insane IPA? Hop Devil is a decent choice. But in the is instance, Stone's Go To was better at what it is meant to be. It's a better session IPA than Hop Devil is as a standard IPA. I liked them both, but:
Stone wins 29/28.
Judge 2 (Dave):
In my blind taste test, the first beer I had was a lot of caramel malt flavor, with just a nice backing of piney hops. There was a faint citrus hint to it, but for the most part it was a pretty malty brew. It was good, but didn't stand out too much to me.
The second beer had a bit more of hop punch but a lot less malt. Grapefruit and other citrus notes stood out in this dank beer. There was a few sightings of pine and a biscuit like malt towards the end but overall this was light, enjoyable, and quite good.
Taste winner: Stone 10/7
As Judge 1 has already mentioned, both beers are equal in price and distribution. I guess I would have to say that since HopDevil has 6.7% ABV and Go To only brings 4.5% ABV to the table, you're technically getting more for the money with Victory.
Value winner: Victory 10/9
Stone is lighter and crisper in the glass, plus offers a better aroma of citrus over pine. HopDevil is a darker color with strong malty notes. As for the bottles, the giant devil hop from Victory just doesn't do it for me. Stone's has the better devil with sharper, cooler colors.
Presentation winner: Stone 10/8
For me the winner is:
Brew-F-C #2 was a TKO for Stone as, for me, Go To IPA was just the over better beer today.
In unanimous fashion Stone's Go To IPA defeats Victory's HopDevil!