Quantcast

The IPA of Summer

Eno Sarris, November 04, 2013 -   

We've done work to find the style of the summer. But what specific beer gained the most when the thermometer rose?

Some beers taste better in the summer, so there should be some difference in the scores. On the other hand, if you like a beer in the spring, are you really going to like it much less two months later?

Turns out there's a suprising amount of variation in the scores. First up are beers that had 50 check-ins before June first and 50 check-ins after. It's an eclectic list.

Brewery Beer ABV Summer Count Summer Score Spring Score Summer-Spring
Fullsteam Rocket Science IPA 6.5 53 3.660 2.473 1.187
Perrin Perrin IPA 6.8 67 3.664 2.615 1.049
Cucapa Cucapá Runaway IPA 7.5 92 3.391 2.559 0.832
Trade Route Hoppy Bitch IPA 6.3 127 3.327 2.500 0.827
Mother Earth Auld Knucker IPA 6.7 63 3.540 2.721 0.819
To Ol First Frontier IPA 7.1 168 3.827 3.022 0.805
2nd Shift Art of Neurosis IPA 7.1 130 3.642 2.882 0.760
Beer Here Hopfix 6.5 135 3.493 2.763 0.729
Cigar City Homefront IPA 6.5 625 3.203 2.493 0.710
Baird Teikoku IPA 6.5 72 3.222 2.526 0.696
Prism Bitto Honey IPA 6.5 102 3.069 2.373 0.696
Burleigh FIGJAM IPA 7 93 3.640 2.945 0.695
Beer Works Back Bay IPA 6.8 135 3.419 2.753 0.666
Williamsburg Drake Tail IPA   112 3.281 2.636 0.645
Intuition I-10 IPA 6.75 204 3.485 2.852 0.633
Williams Brothers Seven Giraffes 5.1 98 3.628 3.000 0.628
Lone Pint 667 Neighbor Of The Beast 6.67 190 3.324 2.703 0.621
Uinta Trader Session IPA 4 104 3.014 2.397 0.617
DareDevil Lift Off IPA™ 7.2 82 3.646 3.071 0.575
Catawba Valley Firewater IPA 5.2 111 2.977 2.403 0.574

At least a quarter of this list is international? Could it be a shipment thing? Or maybe there's something uniquely better about Japanese, New Zealand and Australian beers in the summer. Given the fact that those are some Southern Hemisphere beers, is tempting to wonder if their hops was fresher from harvest at a key time. Their fall comes with America's spring, so they could be harvesting hops in American spring -- and that would mean that beers in American in the spring had the oldest hops.

But clearly hops harvesting doesn't explain the whole list. What about the beers from Denmark and England. One thing you notice is that none of these are huge sampled beers. Perhaps it was just the vagaries of a small sample. 50 people didn't like it, then 50 people liked it. No biggie.

So let's up the sample in both buckets to 250. These will be bigger beers, ones you recognize, and they'll have smaller changes.

Brewery Beer ABV id Summer Count Summer Score Spring Score Summer-Spring
North Coast Acme California IPA 6.5 1600 510 3.178 2.648 0.531
Otter Creek Shed IPA 6 2838 262 3.044 2.594 0.450
Foothills Jade IPA 6.4 419 449 3.872 3.441 0.431
Twisted Pine Hoppy Boy 6.2 1535 361 2.997 2.606 0.391
Karl Strauss Tower 10 IPA 7 2356 591 3.371 2.997 0.375
Independence Stash IPA 8 7684 319 3.531 3.162 0.369
Lost Coast Indica India Pale Ale (IPA) 6.5 6444 642 3.174 2.807 0.367
Aviator HogWild IPA 6.7 12150 311 3.273 2.917 0.357
Upland Dragonfly IPA 6.5 1409 441 3.244 2.910 0.334
Lancaster Hop Hog IPA 7.9 5346 319 3.036 2.709 0.327
Matt Brewing Saranac White IPA 6 5501 752 2.961 2.640 0.321
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye™ 8 1585 932 3.461 3.146 0.315
Breckenridge Lucky U IPA 6.2 568 800 3.032 2.720 0.312
Coronado Islander IPA 7 4238 836 3.233 2.921 0.312
Alpine Duet 7 6565 421 4.031 3.724 0.307

So Acme California IPA is The IPA of the Summer? It's a decent beer. Why is it a half-star better in the summer? I can't imagine the reason, other than perhaps that it's among the more 'well-balanced' IPAs that isn't a hop explosion in our mouth. But you might call Hop Rod Rye and Islander 'bigger' beers, and there's no obvious alcohol content difference here.

If you reverse the query, and look for beers that are worse in the summer, there are very few over 250 check ins that are worse in the summer. We will have to look at the average score of all American IPAs from spring into summer, because only 16 beers were worse in the summer. The top of that board seems to make an obvious point: Celebration Ale from 2012 is second. Nelson IPA from Alpine is top five on the list. These are beers that were released in 2012 fall, most likely, considering the dating on the first and the fact that Nelson is a New Zealand hops.

So, even though a lot of these beers are full-year beers, we're seeing that there are probably two effects going on. All IPAs see their score go up in the summer (we'll confirm this effect), and batch release dates probably have a lot to do with ratings. Sounds like an argument in favor of 'born-on' dating for beers.

comments powered by Disqus