Not saying I brew better beer than HFS, I definitely don't, but it shows how critical freshness is in pale ale/IPA and why we should buy our beer local instead of from California or Germany... unless you're a Californian or German.
I'm starting to think of brewing beer like I do baking chocolate chip cookies. Have you ever purchased cookies from a store that taste as good as the ones just out of your own oven?
I feel a lot like you do. I'm not going to claim my beer is better than most of the well-known brands you can buy. And yet, I'd rather drink my own brew than 90% of what I can buy in bottles, and more than half of what I can get locally. Most of this hobby is about keeping your stuff as clean and sanitary as you can manage, putting fresh, quality ingredients in, and giving your beer a stable and favorable environment in which to work. Past that, just get out of the way.
To torture the cookie analogy, buy fresh butter and eggs. Get chocolate chips that you like. Nuts or no nuts are a personal choice. Set your oven temperature where it ought to be, and take the cookies out when they're just the way you like them. Your friends will swoon, but it's mostly just paying attention.