We’ll drink to this: Lost Coast Brewery’s Indica and Eel River Brewery’s Emerald Triangle recently defeated two giants of the independent brewing realm in a blind taste test of India Pale Ales.

In the taste-off, recently presided over by Northwest Brewing News, the two Humboldt County entries tied for first place, defeating both Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter and Lagunitas’ flagship IPA. The test was performed by a panel of aficionados at the Legendary Boonville Beer Festival in May.

If you’ve never heard of Northwest Brewing News, well, that’s actually not surprising. We hadn’t either. But here’s the deal: The industry magazine covers beer-related news from arguably the best beer region in the country, the brewtopia that stretches from the Bay Area up through Oregon, Washington, British Columbia (eh?) and Alaska. There are other regional magazines, too — Great Lakes Brewing News, Yankee Brew News, Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, etc. — but who are they kidding?

There were just six entrants in the California category, including the four mentioned above as well as Russian River Brewing’s Blind Pig IPA and Mavericks Tunnel Vision IPA. Lost Coast’s Indica and Eel River’s Emerald Triangle both earned four-and-a-half pint glasses, out of a top possible score of five. Russian River and Sierra Nevada’s entrants each earned four pints while Lagunitas and Mavericks’ IPAs landed just two-and-a-half pints.

Here are the critics’ blurbs that might go in an advertisement:

“Balanced impact leads to a fruity hop finish.” (Indica review.)

“A touch of sweetness gave way to a crisp, bitter finish.” (Emerald Triangle.)

A proud Barbara Groom, owner of Lost Coast Brewery, told the Outpost that she’s not surprised her brew defeated the popular Lagunitas IPA. 

“Everyone thinks Lagunitas is the best,” she said. “We do blind taste tests at the brewery all the time. Theirs is always at the bottom.”

The latest issue of Northwest Brewing News has even more love for Humboldt with a profile of Arcata’s Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, which recently celebrated its five-year anniversary. 

Feel free to peruse the digital version of the magazine through this link. Fair warning, though: It will make you thirsty.