I dropped by Triple Rock in Berkeley for the first time tonight with a homebrewing friend. They and Beechwood (from Long Beach) were holding a beer event where they brewed the same Laurel IPA recipe and had both versions on top at each brewery .They also published the recipe and invited homebrewers to make their own takes on the beer and bring some to informally share.
Of the two “official” brews and three homebrew versions I tried, I think Julian’s version from Beechwood was my favorite– the distinctive Simcoe hop smell (which a friend describes as “reminiscent of cat piss”, but I refuse to agree), and a complex citrus-pine taste with a little sweetness that stayed with me. I’m even no IPA fiend, but I’d happily drink that again. My friend’s homebrew was also quite good. And hanging out at the brewers’ table is always fun. How the discussion migrated to physics, ultrasonic measurement of solar panels, and space-hardened robotics I can’t quite remember.