Blank Slate’s The Lesser Path crowned King of the Cincinnati IPA

blank_slate-king_of_the_cincinnati_IPANow that Cincinnati has an established craft brewing movement, it was time to officially determine who makes the best IPA in the city.  It took a group of thirsty beer bloggers and a blind taste test to determine who is the best of the best.  You can jump down below for the press release to get the facts or read on to hear what all is involved with making such an important declaration.

How It Started

The local blogging community, much like the local brewing community, is a friendly bunch who keep in contact on a fairly regular basis.  We all love our local breweries and have often debated about which beers are the best.  Well it was time to interject some science to end the debate once and for all.  Enter the King of the Cincinnati IPA contest.  After 75+ emails discussing form, content, location, and time – we figured out how it was going to go down.  I was foolish enough to invite the motley crew over to home one afternoon for this crucial competition.  Although, they actually turned out to be a moderately-behaved group.

Next, we reached out to all the local breweries to see if they were interested in participating and if they would mind donating a growler of their representative IPA.  They were all excited and very graciously agreed to donate beers for the cause.  We also appreciated polishing off the growlers after the formal competition ended!

The Competition

We all had our biases when we walked in as to who we thought would win.  Me personally, I felt it would be a toss-up between MadTree‘s PsycHOPathy and Rhinegeist‘s Truth.  However, we wanted to ensure the integrity of the event wasn’t compromised so we enlisted the help of two brave souls (thank you @sudsanonymous and @loosescrewbeers!) to man the behind the scenes operation of managing and pouring the samples for the five thirsty fellas.  They randomized the samples into waves and served us 2-3oz pours of each beer.  We all agreed to silence any table talk while judging so that we weren’t being influenced by anyone else.  In between rounds there was clean water and pretzels to help wash out the bitter deliciousness.

A King is Crowned

We spent about forty-five minutes of what my wife deemed the “nerdiest activity ever” judging each beer.  They were scored on appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste, and drinkability for a combined total of 100 points each.  We then tallied all of our scores and averaged them out across the board (thank you, Excel!).  To our complete surprise, we discovered we had a tie.  Fortunately, we had not revealed any of the beers yet so quick thinking dictated a sudden-death drink off.  We were again sequestered to the judging table on my back deck and a new round of these two finalists were poured.  This time, it was a matter of just picking which beer you thought was the best of the two.  No if’s, but’s, or dirty coconuts.  Again, it was a close call but we quickly learned that Blank Slate edged out Rhinegeist 3-2.  I think we are all bit a surprised when learned the Lesser Path was our favorite.  Not because it is a bad beer but because we figured one of the city’s IPA stalwarts would have emerged victorious.  However, we all thought this was a very well deserved win for Scott LaFollette and the Blank Slate team.  Scott has worked tireless to create style-busting beers that taste great.  This was no exception.

From this point, the evening turned into a bottle-sharing, pizza and cookie eating, podcast recording, relieve-yourself-in-the-bushes kind of shindig.  In other words, we had a lot of fun drinking some beers!  You can follow any of the bloggers Untappd feeds to get a sense of the delicious stuff we consumed.

What’s Next?

There is already chatter about the next competition to be hosted.  So stay tuned for details on the next affair…


Cincinnati beer bloggers choose best IPA in the city in “King of the Cincinnati IPA” competition

By Ian Hoopes (

August 11, 2013

Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati-area beer experts gathered on the West Side Saturday, August 10, to take part in a blind tasting of the city’s India pale ales, eventually naming one of them “King of the Cincinnati IPA.” After nearly 45 minutes of deliberation and discussion, a two-way tie, and a head-to-head sudden death round, a winner was chosen.

Blank Slate Brewing Company’s “The Lesser Path” white IPA took the crown, with Rhinegeist Brewing’s “Truth” West Coast-style IPA the close runner-up.

India pale ale, a style originated in Great Britain, is now the most popular craft beer style in America. During brewing, multiple additions of hops are made, many more than a traditional pale ale. The resulting brew is a powerful exhibition of the hops that are always present in beer, with a strong aroma of the hops added, and usually a bitter but floral character.

The Cincinnati brewing scene has exploded over the past couple of years, and since each brewery makes one, if not several IPAs, a competition was in order. The brewery candidates were Blank Slate, Cellar Dweller, Christian Moerlein, Double Barrel, Fifty West, Listermann, MadTree, Mt. Carmel, Rhinegeist and Rivertown. Experts agreed to test only the single IPAs of each brewery.

The expert tasters were Beer Mumbo’s Danny Spears (, BeerQuest ABV’s Ian Hoopes (, Brew Professor’s Mike Stuart (, Queen City Drinks’ Tom Aguero ( and Queen City Fresh’s Chris Stevens ( The blind tasting was proctored by Suds Anonymous’s Jack Behrendt ( and Loose Screw Beers’ Matt Rowe (LooseScrewBeers on Twitter).


Mike Stuart

Craft beer enthusiast and hombrew dabbler. Part-time writer, sometimes funny.

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