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BBG: BrewFC #5 - Serious Citrus

Ninkasi’s Hop Cooler vs. Coalition’s Space Fruit

It’s been more than six months since the last BrewFC fight...but after a long delay, another match-up has finally taken place.

After a trip to Taylor’s house (my best friend), we found ourselves in possession of two heavily citrus-ed IPAs. Naturally a fight was going to break out as to which one was better. So we wanted to settle this in the BrewFC ring.

Like the last fight, we will each blindly judge both beers in five categories that total up to 50 points. From there we’ll add the totals together for a composite score out of 100. The beer with the higher score wins.

The five categories will are: Aroma (10 points), Taste (20 points), Presentation 1 (the look of the beer; 10 points), Presentation 2 (the look of the bottle; 5 points), and Value (5 points).

The last two categories are impossible to rank blindly, so those have already been scored before the real fight begins.

Let’s take a look at the competitors.

It’s Ninkasi’s Hop Cooler Citrus IPA against Coalition Brewing’s Space Fruit, a citrus infused IPA.

Beer: Ninkasi Hop Cooler Coalition Space Fruit
From: Eugene, OR Portland, OR
ABV: 7.20% 7.00%
IBU: 74 50
Cost: $5.99 (22 oz) $5.99 (22 oz)

Now that you’ve seen the tale of the tape...let the fight begin!

Beer 1:

Judge 1 (Taylor):

Aroma: The aroma is not overwhelming but still satisfying. A nice balance between the hops and the fruit. 8/10

Taste: There are some lingering pine elements but the hops have great citrus flavors without being too bitter. This is a beer I feel like you could drink a few of on a summer day. But as, you continue through it, it does get more bitter. Still a very solid beer. 17/20

Presentation 1: It pours with a slight head, leaving a decent amount of froth behind. There is lacing down the glass as you continue to drink it. 8/10

Presentation 2: Bottle is above average. Nothing special but it’s not ugly. Solid label. 4/5

Value: $5.99 for a bomber that’s 7.2% ABV? Yes, please! Rare to find bombers that cheap in Chicago. 4/5

Total: 41/50

Judge 2 (Dave):

Aroma: There is some sweetness to it but it’s mostly hoppy pine and bready malt. While there was some fruity undertones, there wasn’t as much citrus as I was expecting from a citrus based IPA. 7/10

Taste: Mild carbonation with lighter mouthfeel but medium bodied. A little sticky-sweet citrus (grapefruit mostly) up front but, again, more pine than a citrus IPA should have. Ends with a slightly dry lingering bitterness that hangs around. 15/20

Presentation 1: Crisp golden copper color. Medium amount of head (roughly two fingers). Laced well as it was drank down, creating solid lines down the glass. 8/10

Presentation 2: Has a pretty decent label and name. Picture is kind of boring, just an orange sliced in half with some leaves. Nothing too different/exciting. 3/5

Value: Illinois may just be very expensive but anytime I can find a bomber for $5.99 like with this one…it’s a damn good deal. 4/5

Total: 37/50

OVERALL: 78/100

Beer 2:

Judge 1 (Taylor):

Aroma: It has a danky stink to it, some sweetness from the citrus too. 6/10

Taste: To me it’s one of those beers that at first you say – eh, that’s fine. I was ready to sell it short. However, as you continue to drink it the citrus flavor will start to emerge. The second half was much better than the first. 16/20

Presentation 1: Pours with not too much head, just a little trace around the top. There’s a large amount of sediment in my glass (must be the bottom of the bottle) and it floats freely throughout my drink. Pours a sort of honey wheat color. 7/10

Presentation 2: Cool bottle. Like the label and name. Can’t say much more than that. 5/5

Value: Like the last beer, this is a good value. Can’t beat the $5.99 price tag. 4/5

Total: 38/50

Judge 2 (Dave):

Aroma: Plenty of citrus here – melon, tropical fruits, and grapefruit. Slight hoppy undertones. Dank but approachable. 8/10

Taste: No carbonation up front. Light slightly watery mouthfeel. Taste matches aroma; melon up front before the grapefruit, pineapple, and other tropical fruits take a hold. Not bitter at all. No real lingering flavors. Just the tiniest hint of dryness. 17/20

Presentation 1: Pours a light golden straw color. Very minimal head, a finger or less. Huge surface of lacing…covers most of the glass. Lots of sediment floating aimlessly around. 8/10

Presentation 2: I kind of like this bottle; sure it’s just a half lemon-half orange planet with hop nuggets orbiting around but it’s pretty cool. Name is pretty solid, certainly reflects the beer. 4/5

Value (5): Costs $5.99 like the other, which is a great deal in my neck of the woods. Price is right! 4/5

Total: 41/50

OVERALL: 79/100

Winner: Beer 2 - COALITION SPACE FRUIT

In the closest BrewFC fight yet, it was Coalition’s Space Fruit that eked out the 79-78 victory over Hop Cooler. Congrats to the new champ!