As you all may know, the Patriots of New England will be facing off against the New York Football Giants on sunday (Superbowl Sunday). This is a big enough rivalry for several reasons, including, but not limited to, the fact that New York and Boston have a general rivalry for pretty much every sport, and the last time the Giants met the Patriots in the Superbowl, they won in dramatic fashion, handing the Patriots their only loss of the season. To make things really interesting, Brooklyn Brewery and Harpoon Brewery have made a bet on the game.
If you are too busy to look at the link, the bet goes as follows: If the Giants win, Harpoon has to wear Giants jerseys and pour Brooklyn Lager for the following week. If the Patriots win, Brooklyn has to wear Patriots jerseys and pour Harpoon IPA for the following week. I wanted to do some sort of simulation of the game before it happens, but since I don't own Madden '12, I had to do a simulation via beer.
That's some sloppy looking defense.
Before I start, I'm going to hit you with some knowledge. Both of these beers are the flagship beers for their respective breweries. In case you have heard someone throw around this "flagship" term before and wondered why they are talking about boats when you were clearly just talking about beer, let me enlighten you. If you ask five different people what a flagship beer is, you might get five different answers. It can be:
A) The brewery's best beer.
B) The brewery's best selling beer.
C) The beer that defines the quality of the brewery.
Sometimes these overlap, sometimes they don't. I personally define the "flagship beer" to be the one that I think of when I think of the brewery. Coincidentally, this is usually the best selling beer, but I would definitely say it is not the brewery's best beer.
In order to do an effective face-off, I will describe each beer to you in detail and by the end, hopefully I will have a victor(I'm totally lying, I knew which one I prefer before I did my tasting. Just humor me.) To be fair, I will also give you a brief opinion of the style, because it is difficult to compare beers across styles in a fair manner.
Style: American Amber Lager
Opinion of Style: I'm usually ok with Amber lagers. American lagers can sometimes be a little weak in the flavor department, but find one from a good brewery and it will probably be pretty nice.
Reflection: I love this beer. If you have not had the pleasure, I would highly suggest it. It is light enough to drink several, but actually has the flavor to make you WANT to keep drinking. Slightly sweet and malty upfront, quickly mellowed by a moderate hop character. The finish is crisp and dry, with some lingering citrus from the hops and a distinct grainy flavor. Perfect for the summer or really just anytime you want something that tastes great and is not too heavy.
Good Representative for the Great State of New York
Style: American Style IPA
Opinion of Style: American IPAs are decidedly not my favorite style. I usually think they are over-hopped. If you disagree, that is fine, but I like a more balanced beer (and one that I can taste something other than pinecone). I guess take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I think it's a good opinion, so maybe you should just believe me.
Reflection: Being an East Coast IPA, the hop character is more subtle. This being said, I still am getting virtually no distinct malt in the flavor. The IPA is bitter, but to a reasonable level. It stays a little sweet all throughout the finish, which is actually nicer than I remember it being. The last thing you will taste is a floral/citrus bitterness that stays with you.
Note: How many flagship beers can you think of that are IPAs? Only a few. This is a good indicator that these are mild IPAs, as most of the population is not made up of hop heads.
If you didn't know already, you have probably guessed by now: Given the choice between Brooklyn Lager and Harpoon IPA, I will take the Brooklyn every single time. It is my personal opinion, feel free to disagree.
All in all, if the Giants win, Patriots fans should take comfort in the fact that they can get free Brooklyn Lager for the following week at the Harpoon Brewery. If the Patriots win, well, I can't go to the Brooklyn Brewery that week anyway.
Take a second to vote on the right sidebar about which beer you prefer!
If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send me cool photos too, if you like.