Mugs Ale House is the oldest craft beer bar in Brooklyn and is where I tasted many of my early craft beer favorites for the first time. Owner Ed Berestecki first opened Mugs in 1992 in Williamsburg with an 8 tap system, which now has grown to 32 taps and two beer engines for cask beer pours. Mugs hosts many beer events throughout the year, most notably is their Split Thy Brooklyn Skull event in which every beer on tap has an ABV of at least 8% or more. 2015 will be the sixteenth year they will host this event. Back in 2012 Mugs started a new yearly event, the Mystery IPA Contest. Now entering its forth year, I got together with fellow hopheads to enjoy an afternoon of IPA tasting.
The concept of the event is very simple. There are 12 IPAs on tap, but none of those IPAs have their brewer’s tap handle (this year there was a 13th IPA included). When you arrive you get a tasting glass and a pencil and paper for taking notes. You get to try all the IPAs as much as you want for 2 hours, then you cast your vote for the IPA number you enjoyed the most.
After you cast your vote, you receive a pint glass to drink as much IPA as you want for the third hour. Good thing there was a nice supply of free pizza to help soak up the beer. After the votes were tallied, the generic tap handles were replaced with their appropriate brand name handle.
The mystery IPA line up for the afternoon by number:
1) Abita Wrought Iron IPA
2) Alesmith IPA
3) Bell’s Two Hearted
4) Blue Point Mosaic
5) Captain Lawrence IPA
6) Founders Centennial
7) Green Flash Soul Style
8) Greenport Harbor Otherside
9) Lagunitas IPA
10) SingleCut Billy Half-Stack
11) 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die
12) Sixpoint Bengali
13) Peekskill Eastern Standard
The IPA that receives the most votes will be on draft for the next six months. Last year SingleCut won with their Billy Half-Stack IPA, which this year dropped down to 5th place. This year there was a tie for first place! The top two IPAs of the afternoon were Alesmith IPA and Blue Point Mosaic. I voted for Alesmith as my favorite and had the Blue Point Mosaic as my second favorite. This was my second year at this event and I had another great time. I will definitely be back again for 2016.