I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about whether or not I want to review beers on this blog. I’ve had a few people ask me if I could or if my site is a good place to read about different beers.
While I have reviewed beers in the past for the Craft Beer Advent Calendar, I haven’t really done too much of it outside of that. Given that we will soon have some new craft breweries opening up here in Manitoba and we seem to have a lot more new craft beers coming in, and as a way to help educate myself and others, I’ve decided to post reviews.
What I won’t be doing is giving beers a score anymore. I made this decision after my last advent calendar review. I want to provide people with information about the beer and what I think about it. I don’t feel I need to give it a score for that. So, what I am going to do is just give you information about the beers and whether I liked it or not. You can read a bit more about it on my about page.
So each review will be structured as follows:
- Beer name, location, and style of beer.
- Description of the style, origins and information about the brewery.
- Appearance (Body, Colour, Head, Retention)
- Mouth feel (Light, Medium, Heavy, Smooth, Coarse)
- Overall thoughts
- Do I like it (Yes or No) and why.
My hope is that my reviews will encourage you to get out and try new beers. Not all of my reviews will include this preamble.
Today I am going to review Black Bridge Brewery’s Double IPA. We’ve had their regular IPA! in our liquor marts for quite some time now and I’m excited to give the Double IPA a try. It just arrived in the city and you can find it around town starting on Monday. Right now It’s listed at Grant Park, but be sure to check its listing page at Liquor Marts to get details about where you can find it.
Black Bridge Brewery is located in Swift Current Saskatchewan. They employ 5 full-time folks as well as two casual employees at their brewery and taproom. The name of the brewery comes from a local landmark, a black bridge, which is located in the south of the town. The bridge is rumored to be haunted and if you grew up in the area it’s something that you are likely quite familiar with.
The brewmaster, Clayton Stevenson, opened this brewery back in 2014 with his wife Kari. Originally it was just the two of them. Clayton had been a homebrewer for 10 years and had always wanted to open a brewery. They run a 20 hectolitre system and have already made waves, winning a bronze medal for the Milk Stout at the Canadian Brewing Awards.
The style, Double IPA, is a beer that is an American craft beer invention that began in the 1990s. Craft breweries were trying to “push the envelope” on their beers and appease the hop aficionados who were growing ever more interested in the flavor and variety that this plant can provide. By the 2000s this style had become much more mainstream and provides a way for brewers to experiment and be creative with hops. The adjective “Double” really doesn’t mean anything other than this beer is stronger than a regular IPA. You will see “Imperial” used quite regularly as well. It’s the same style.
The style should be intensely hoppy and fairly strong with an IBU (international bitterness unit) in the range of 60-120, an ABV of between 7.5% and 10% with a lighter colour. Drinkability of the style is important and it should be well balanced with strong malt backbone and residual sweetness.
Black Bridge Brewery Double IPA
ABV – 8.5% IBU – 80
Enjoy as Fresh as Possible
Appearance – Light copper, a persistent thick foamy white head that leaves lacing on the glass as it dissipates. Great clarity especially for an unfiltered beer.
Smell – Very floral with hints of tropical fruit likely coming from the addition of Mosaic hops. Subtle grapefruit and piney aroma as well possibly from Chinook or Simcoe.
Taste – Great use of hops. Good floral notes, resin and spice as well as some really subtle hints of grapefruit. Strong bitterness, subtle malt that brings some pretty good balance to the beer. Good bitterness on the finish, not overly harsh.
Note: I quite enjoy hoppy beers. This one is fairly bitter and if you are not used to very bitter beers it might be harsher for you.
Mouth Feel – Medium body, smooth, good carbonation.
Overall Thoughts – Great use of hops in this double IPA, it’s got the strength of bitterness and ABV but it doesn’t taste overly strong. Good balance with the malt.
Do I like it? – Yes, I do like this one. I’m pretty impressed with the quality of this Double IPA. It tastes fairly fresh, which isn’t always the case for IPAs at our Liquor Marts. Very smooth, nice flavor. For the alcohol content of this beer it is dangerously drinkable. I enjoyed this one.