Monday 12 April 2010

IPA challenge bout three: Goose Island IPA Vs Marston's Old Empire

The third bout in the IPA challenge is between two middle weights: Goose Island IPA and Marston's Old Empire.

There's a slight weight advantage to the American (5.9% ABV Vs 5.7%), but the Brit has more stamina (500 ml Vs 355). Goose Island is starting the favourite, popular with the British crowd and with a good reputation amongst beer nerds everywhere, but the Old Empire is no mean beer and looks unfazed as it enters the ring in a clear glass bottle, with the Goose Island is in brown.    

The caps are off and the bout is on. Only a faint smell from the Old Empire, a rich aroma from goose island of elderflower and grapefruit.

On to the first taste and a good start for the beer from Burton, strong but drinkable, using an orthodox stance. Goose Island counters with its modern American style, the probing aroma, and strong flavour but looking a little clumsy on first taste. 

Back to the Old Empire and the strength of the American has taken it's toll, the Brit is still drinking beautifully but the flavour's seeming weak in comparison and is having little effect. The contender from the windy city is getting more settled as the round progresses. Unfortunately we're not as the constant swapping of beers seems to have upped our usual sedate drinking rate giving us bloated stomaches and making us a bit windy ourselves.

Old Empire bravely battles on and never looses its composure but the heavy hands of the American land more telling blows. Though it was more closely fought than many expected there can't be many surprised when the judges find in the American's favour.

A win for Goose Island IPA by 10-9   


  1. Great IPA round, two of my favourites, I gave both of them a [baron rating 5/5] on my site! :)

    Love these bouts, keep them up!

  2. I like the metaphor. Knock out.

  3. Interesting that you don't note any particular flavour in the Old Empire. I think it's a terrible beer ... there's just nothing to it. Last time I had it I got a distinct plastic flavour and aroma; reminded me of the smell you get when you blow up a kids paddling pool. Bland, bland bland! :P

  4. The Old Empire was the best bottle of it I've had in ages, though you're right after I'd had the Goose Island its flavour was a bit overwhelmed. I wonder if the last bottle you had was light struck, what with it being in a clear bottle? The taste of light struck beer reminds me of burnt rubber.

  5. Every bottle of Old Empire I have tried here was light struck and practically undrinkable. It's almost impossible to get decent beer in clear glass.

    I tried Old Empire on cask at the GBBF a few years back and really liked it. This just served to irritate me even further because I can't get it in a drinkable form in Dublin.

  6. I really don't understand why brewers who should know better let their beer get put in clear bottles.