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Belt’s Beer Garden’s BrewFC #6: Hazed and Confused

A fight between two hazy IPAs: Illuminated Brew Works’ Bulgakhopf & Mikerphone’s Say Uhh!

After almost a year since the last BrewFC fight...I finally found two competitors to battle it out in another match up!

Once again it’s my best friend Taylor who is here with me to blindly judge these two hazy IPAs. Both of us are big on hazy/NE IPAs lately 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).

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

First, let’s take a look at the two combatants. We have a 750 mL bottle of each; Illuminated Brew Works’ Bulgakhopf, a NE style IPA, and Mikerphone’s Say Uhh!, a double dry-hopped double IPA.

Beer: Illuminated Bulgakhopf Mikerphone Say Uhh!
From: Chicago, IL Elk Grove Village, IL
ABV: 8.50% 8%
Cost: $8.99 (25.4 ounces) $12.99 (25.4 ounces)

So with out further ado...let the fight begin!

Beer 1:

Judge 1 (Taylor):

Aroma: This one smelled more wheaty than juicy...which I was not expecting from this competition. There was some light citrus with a bitter backing but overall, just wasn’t amazing. 6/10

Taste: Like the aroma, the taste was just good, not great. There was, once again, too much wheat-like flavors and not enough juiciness or citrus flavors for my liking. There was something just a tad bit off to this one...especially for the style we’re reviewing today. But, even for an IPA in general, it was just OK. 16/20

Presentation 1: There was some haze to it but it just wasn’t hazy enough for me. There was some nice head and some solid lacing and the color sure popped...but I would have like to see some more haziness to it. 7/10

Presentation 2: This is a simple but cool bottle. It grabs your eye for sure but that name though... 4/5

Value: Decent cost, especially for how much you get. If only I had enjoyed the beer more. 3/5

Total: 36/50

Judge 2 (Dave):

Aroma: Juicy hops with some light bitterness in the background. Some citrus - like orange and lemon zest - but there was also a lot of pine and some bready malts in there, which I found unusual. 6/10

Taste: Smooth and creamy mouthfeel to it with just a little thicker body. The nuttiness and bready malts start off the taste before the citrus save you on the backend. Slightly bitter finish with no real lingering aftertaste or dryness. Wish there was more fruit and less nuts. 15/20

Presentation 1: Slightly hazy bright orange color. Half inch of white head that laces pretty well. Wish it was darker/hazier but it’s still pretty. 8/10

Presentation 2: Name is hard to pronounce, let alone spell. But the bottle and demon cat are both pretty cool. It’s a simple design but nice. 3/5

Value: Less than $9 for a 750 mL bottle? In Chicago?! Yes please! 4/5


Overall: 72/100

Beer 2:

Judge 1 (Taylor):

Aroma: Now this smells like the hazy, juicy IPAs that I love! Lots of citrus and breakfast juice-like scents. Near perfection. 9/10

Taste: First impression: Amazing. You get the juice and the dryness. The citrus dances on your tongue and never lets the bitterness overwhelm you. 18/20

Presentation 1: Not much head or lacing but has that amazing hazy look. 8/10

Presentation 2: So much thought and effort went into this name, label, and design. 5/5

Value: You’re going to pay a little more for their beer but it’s always worth it. 4/5

Total: 44/50

Judge 2 (Dave):

Aroma: Super hoppy yet super juicy. Citrus-forward with orange, grapefruit, and melon notes with a light bready malt backing. 8/10

Taste: Wonderfully creamy with a thicker body. Huge juicy bursts of melon, orange, and grapefruit. The malts complimented nicely while the hop bitterness remains checked. Ends pretty dry with a bitter twinge to it. 17/20

Presentation 1: Super cloudy, muted orange color. Looks more like OJ than beer. The tiny dusting of off-white head does some lacing but not much. 8/10

Presentation 2: Bottle and name are pretty good. I like the diamond font but this doesn’t wow me. They have way better names/labels. 3/5

Value: $13 for a big bottle is a bit pricey, even for Chicago. But the quality will be there I’m sure. 4/5

Total: 41/50

Overall: 85/100

So Beer #2 was the clear victor, winning 85-72 but which beer was it?

Winner: Mikerphone Say Uhh!

The two brews split a lot of the other categories but it was Say Uhh! that outshines in both aroma and taste. Congrats to Mikerphone and Say Uhh!.