What brings us here?
Simple, the love of beer. There’s something wonderfully satisfying about sitting down to a cold beer after a long day at work. We’d like to extend that moment to the rest of our lives.
To that end, we set out to discover more about the world of beer. The more we learned, the more we found how much we enjoy the community around beer, the characters, and the discussions that can happen around our opinions of excellent beer…and our opinions of not-so-excellent beer. This site represents our contribution to that community.
What is a HopDuel?
Do us a favor and imagine a scenario involving NCAA basketball. Every season pundits come out with pre-season rankings for teams. They might say Kentucky is loaded with talented freshman, or Duke has a can’t-miss star-studded lineup or North Carolina is the deepest team they’ve seen in years. They often form this impression by watching footage of the players from previous seasons, witnessing practice sessions, or listening to the coaches rave about how hard their players worked in the off-season.
For sports fans, these reviews are fun to read. They help build excitement as the season approaches. However, it would be laughable to hand out championship trophies based solely on these reviews! Once the season starts, the teams are put to the test and must perform in each game to maintain a high rank. So why do we treat beer any different? Enter HopDuel.
With the HopDuel, we have a scenario where you can position one beer up against another and come away with a winner. You have several categories to compare each beer, including label, aroma, taste, and finish. These categories often lead to a winner of the duel, but any one of the categories can form a strong enough emotional response to force a winner. This is a fun way to look at beer comparison that doesn’t rely on arbitrary star ratings, but rather, it relies on your senses to define a winner!
The basic HopDuel Survey consists of 5 questions, and in user’s posts, it will show up like this:
Better label: This category looks at the packaging of the beer. The primary focus is on the label artwork, but other factors that weigh in are bottle shape, texture, paper stock, and carrier design.
Better aroma: This category requires a big whiff from each beer, the winner simply smells better to you.
Better taste: This category is often referred to as “the nose” of the beer. As it enters your mouth, the beer’s flavor will trigger your taste buds to make some decisions about it, the winner is whichever beer works better with your taste buds.
Better finish: This category focuses on the drink of the beer, and its aftertaste. Does the beer have a surprising aftertaste that works well for you? Is it more bitter, sweet or sour than you were expecting?
Winner: This category is simple, which beer won the duel? It’s important to note that this category is not necessarily the sum of other parts of the survey. Any of the previous categories can trigger a strong enough response to drive your decision on who won the duel.
Why a HopDuel?
People all across the world enjoy drinking beer. Some love stouts or porters, others swear by IPA’s, sours or lagers. But haven’t you ever wondered, of the beer types that I enjoy, which beer do I actually like more? We think the only way to truly decide that is to try a variety at the same time, and decide which one works better for you.
At HopDuel, we say yes. Yes to all beer! Let’s try them all and let each other know what we think about them. We aren’t a community of beer experts, we’re a community of beer enthusiasts. We intend to drink beer and let others know what we think about it. We also intend to host events where our fans can try different beers and compare flavors. We’ll talk to breweries to get insight into why their beer tastes so damn good.
We’ll do all of this and more while giving and sharing opinions (ours and yours) on beer. So let’s all sit back, crack open a couple brews and share our thoughts.
Beer can be classified a number of ways. In order to clearly communicate the method we’ve chosen to classify our work, we’ll link back to a page on craftbeer.com that presents a clear understanding of the major classifications of beer. There is a ton of information on that page, and we’d highly recommend reading through it if you have the time.
The main classifications of beer used on this site are Pale Ales, Dark Lagers, Brown Ales, India Pale Ales, Wheat Beers, Strong Ales, Belgian Styles, Hybrid Beers, Porters, Stouts, Bocks, Scottish-Style Ales, Pilsners/Pale Lagers, and Specialty Beers. There are a few specialty beer types that are popular enough to warrant their own categories, such as Sours, Ciders and Fruit Beers.
There are several sub-categories within these main categories, but we consider a similar beer to be anything that falls within one of these main categories. Since a HopDuel is a one on one contest between two similar beers, each beer chosen for a duel should fall within one of these main categories. Exceptions and adjustments will be made from time to time, so bear with us as we attempt to let our users define how the site and it’s categories grow and develop.
We’ve prepared a printable cheat sheet for our users, which is available here: HopDuel Cheat Sheet. Download, print and cut it out, then throw it in your wallet, purse, man-satchel or wherever you see fit, for help with future duel decision making.
Like most of our followers, we enjoy visiting breweries from time to time. If you stop at a brewery and would like to compare two similar beers for a traditional HopDuel, feel free. As an alternative, order a flight and let us know what you tried, what you enjoyed the most, the least, and anything unique about the experience. This one is very open-ended.