Tag Archives: IPA

Granville Island – So Cal Style IPA

I’ve got another beer from Grainville Island to review today. But before I get to that, I wanted to share some good news. Stone Angel has opened their doors and will now be serving beer Wednesday-Sunday. That is another brewery open to the public and always cause for celebration. TransCanada is inching ever closer as is Oxus and I hope that by the end of October both will be open. Finally, I’ll be sitting down with Oxus, Barn Hammer and Peg in the coming weeks to do write-ups. Oxus about their opening and Peg and Barn Hammer in celebration of hitting the 1-year mark.

But, onto Granville Island and their So Cal Style IPA.

*Note, I did receive this beer from Granville Island free for review. *

I wrote about Granville Island in more detail when I first reviewed their Gose. You can read about them more here. In my previous review of their BC Bitter I also included a bit of a Q and A I had with brewmaster Kevin Emms. You can read about that here.

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed now. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.

While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often highlight the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer.  Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought using a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. On most IPAs you’ll see an IBU (international bitterness units) number that gives you an idea of how bitter it might be. For comparison, Torque’s American Pale Ale (Foundation) comes in at 30 IBUs, Half-Pints little Scrapper comes in at 50, and Barn Hammer’s Saturday Night Lumberjack at 75 IBUs.

The So Cal IPA is a West-Coast IPA. This variation on the IPA are typically higher on the alcohol range usually coming in between 6.8% and 8%. The reason it is called “west-coast” is largely due to the use of hops available on the west-coast. GIB So Cal IPA comes in at 80 IBUs.

ABV – 7.8%
Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy, medium copper colour with a puffy foamy off-white head.
Smell – Doughy malt biscuit notes with subtle aroma of grapefruit and citrus bitterness.
Taste – Biscuity malt comes through on the taste with a hit of bitterness and slightly astringent alcohol burn on finish.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation and a bitter slightly astringent finish.
Overall Thoughts – Overall, I would say that this beer was a bit too malt forward for me. The bitterness was there, but for an IPA it wasn’t bringing the grapefruit and citrus notes I was expecting.
Do I like it? – While the expectation didn’t meet the reality, this beer certainly brought a good hop bitterness with a firm malt base.

Thanks for following along. I am meeting up with Oxus today and hope to get some updates for post next week. Lots still to come and lots of exciting beer related stuff happening.

-Beer Winnipeg

Surly Three-Fer

I’m super psyched to be back at writing and getting back into the brewing community. Sadly, I’m still working the nights of the Winnipeg Brew Bomber meetings so I don’t get to attend those, but if you have any interest in learning about home brewing or connecting with a group of incredibly knowledgeable and talented individuals, I’d recommend considering this group.

For those of you not familiar with Surly, I did an in-depth write-up of them <here> when they first announced their coming to Manitoba. This is big. They have a waiting list for expansion and have chosen to come to Manitoba. What’s more, we are going to be seeing some of their seasonal offerings, including Furious Black IPA, Damien, and both the 2016 and 2017 vintages of their Russian imperial stout Darkness.

Today I’m going to write about three beers from Surly that have arrived in Manitoba and are currently available. Two which will be consistently available along with Todd the Axeman, Xtra-Citra, a Citra centric American pale ale, Furious IPA and a seasonal release Surlyfest. These are all available at Liquor Marts and many beer vendors including Quality Craft Beer Store, Econolodge and St. Norbert Hotel.

Surly - Xtra-Citra.png

Xtra-Citra Pale Ale

Xtra-Citra is an American style pale ale that uses warrior hops for bittering and then a load of citra to bring big tropical citrusy notes to this highly drinkable beer.

American Pale Ales (APA) are, obviously, pale, refreshing and well hopped but with the right amount of malt backbone to balance the beer. The opportunity to select from hops can give this beer a range and either reflect classic hops or new world hops. Generally, an APA is more accessible than an IPA while still providing a hop forward flavour.

The APA is a modern American craft beer adaptation of the English pale ale. These beers tend to reflect ingredients that can be sourced by the brewery locally. While these beers are an American craft beer invention, the desire to source locally means that this Italian version will hopefully have a little bit of that old world flare.

Prior to the explosion of popularity of the IPA, the American Pale Ale was the most well-known and popular of the American craft beer styles. Without further ado, time to taste the beer.

ABV – 4.5%
Appearance – Pours a slightly haze pale golden yellow with a nice white head.
Smell – Citra hops notes are the most prominent on the nose. Lots of grapefruit and orange notes, passion fruit, some funky wet-hop notes and some cattiness on nose as well.
Taste – You get notes of orange-peel and lemon, faint resinous grapefruit a bit of malt sweetness. The taste on this is dialed back a bit leaving a softer hop bitterness and Citra-centric flavour.
Mouth Feel – Light body with a nice carbonation and a soft bitter finish.
Overall Thoughts – Despite being a bit of a softer hop centric pale ale, the flavours that it brings are nice and, if you like Citra, this beer brings those notes. Overall an enjoyable and easy drinking pale ale.
Do I like it? – Xtra-Citra a nice quaffable beer that still brings nice hop notes. I do like this beer and it’s a good balance to the higher more hop forward offerings from Surly.

Surly - Furious - IPA

Furious IPA

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed at this time. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipediathe BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.

While IPAs are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often highlight the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer.  Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought using a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. On most IPAs you’ll see an IBU (international bitterness units) number that gives you an idea of how bitter it might be. For comparison, Torque’s American Pale Ale (Foundation) comes in at 30 IBUs, Half-Pints little Scrapper comes in at 50, and Barn Hammer’s Saturday Night Lumberjack at 75 IBUs.

Surly Furious is an amber hued IPA using a variety of hops working in tandem with a sweet malt backbone to balance against the pretty intense 99 IBUs of hop bitterness.

ABV – 6.6%
Appearance – Pours a slightly hazy amber with a nice foamy head that leaves lacing on glass.
Smell – Definite citrus notes as well as some more prominent piney notes and caramel malt.
Taste – Bitterness from the hops brings a nice citrus note on front that is quickly blended with the sweetness from the malt. The finish brings nice pine and resinous notes that leave a lingering bitterness on tongue.
Mouth Feel – Medium bodied with good carbonation and a lingering bitterness.
Overall Thoughts – Well balanced IPA bringing good aromas and flavours from the hops. The pine notes combined with the citrus bring a nice hop bitterness that makes this beer a nice IPA that is still drinkable.
Do I like it? – Yes. I think this is a nice IPA that brings a different take on the style from Todd the Axeman. This one brings a bit more variety in hop notes and will certainly be on my IPA list.

Surly - Surlyfest

Surlyfest – Dry-Hopped Rye Lager

Proving that they like to do things differently, Surlyfest is Surly offering for the Oktoberfest season. This is a beer that is now in its 10th anniversary and is a really unique offering for the fall beer season.

Surlyfest is a lager that has been brewed using three types of rye malt and then dry-hopped with a single variety of American hop (Sterling in this case) to bring some really nice spice flavours along with the floral hop notes of sterling.

This beer falls under the category of a Märzen. Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to the hot weather and bacterial infections. Brewing ended with the coming of spring, and began again in the fall. Most were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’d keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.

While certainly not a traditional Märzen, Surlyfest brings an interesting interpretation on the style and provides something different.

ABV – 6%
Appearance – Pours a clear deep copper colour with a tan head.
Smell – Interesting aroma. You get some dark bread and caramel along with some subtly spicy and peppery notes a floral note from the hops.
Taste – Nice notes of bready malt, caramel and that subtle spice and pepper coming through from the rye. The hops bring a touch of citrus and bitterness that doesn’t really overtake anything but provides another layer.
Mouth Feel – Medium bodied with good carbonation and a nice dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – While not the traditional Märzen that we see around Oktoberfest, we knew that going in. This beer is a delicious take on the traditional and the use of three different rye malts really brings an interesting character.
Do I like it? – Absolutely. This beer really makes use of the rye malt and sterling hop to bring an interesting and tasty take on the traditional. Not your dad’s Märzen, but it should be.

Thanks for reading as usual folks. I’ve got plans to get back into Get to know a brewer soon. I’m also looking to sit down with those breweries open for one year to get their insights starting with Torque. Also hoping to sit down and get some follow-ups done with breweries yet to open their doors.

Keep following along, it should be a fun year.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Surly – Todd the Axeman

It’s been an amazing summer. I’ve gotten to spend every day with my daughter and, while it has been incredibly busy and exhausting, it’s been incredibly rewarding and fun. As my holidays end, I am looking forward to the routine of work and getting back to writing, but I am not very excited about my girl going to daycare and not getting to spend every day with her.

This summer has also been a great one for beer. Starting with Flatlanders, movements towards opening by Stone Angel, Trans Canada, and Oxus, Barn Hammer’s and Torque’s first Anniversaries, Half-Pints 11th anniversary, the first ever Winnipeg Beer Festival, and the arrival of Surly on a go forward basis.

For those of you not familiar with Surly, I did an in-depth write-up of them <here> when they first announced their coming to Manitoba. This is big. They have a waiting list for expansion and have chosen to come to Manitoba. What’s more, we are going to be seeing some of their seasonal offerings, including Furious Black IPA, Damien, and both the 2016 and 2017 vintages of their Russian imperial stout Darkness.

Surly - Embrace the Darkness

They’ve begun by sending us X-Citra, a pale ale loaded with citra hops, Furious Red IPA and the focus of this write-up, Todd the Axeman, a west-coast style IPA.

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed now. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.

Todd the Axeman is a West-Coast IPA that comes in at 65 IBU. The west-coast variation on the IPA is typically higher on the alcohol range usually coming in between 6.8% and 8%. The reason it is called “west-coast” is largely due to the use of hops available on the west-coast. In the case of Todd, it uses exclusively Citra and Mosaic hops. These hops are balanced on the back of a 100% Golden Promise grain bill. This beer is being sold for $6.99 in Liquor Marts and, while this is on the expensive side, Golden Promise, Citra and Mosaic are probably the most expensive ingredients you can find for a beer.

Golden Promise is an early-maturing spring barley, is the Scottish equivalent of Maris Otter. Though brewers north of the English border claim that its sweet, clean flavor is superior to Maris Otter. Golden Promise malt has a depth of flavor that makes it the ideal base malt for both UK and USA-style IPAs. Golden Promise is also used extensively by premium whisky distilleries such as The Macallan. Golden Promise is floor malted which means that it malted by creating a thin lair of malt on a heated tile floor and constantly moving it around. You can read more about the traditional process here. Onto the beer.

Before we get to the beer, it’s important to note that this beer was created in collaboration with Danish brewery Amager Bryghus and is named for Surly’s original brewmaster, Todd Haug.

ABV – 7.2%
Appearance – Pours a hazy orange colour with a nice beige head. The first can I had was reasonably clear while the second had some sediment (No effect on beer review, just a note)
Smell – Citra and Mosaic hops bring fantastic tropical notes of grapefruit, passion fruit, piney notes, cattiness and some nice dank hopness.
Taste – This is a juicy beer. Solid malt sweetness followed by nice big notes of pineapple, grapefruit and passion fruit and a lingering hop bitterness. The hops bring a nice resinous finish that balances well with the almost honey-sweetness of the malt.
Mouth Feel – Medium bodied with good carbonation and a lingering bitterness.
Overall Thoughts – Well balanced IPA bringing good aromas and flavours from the hops. The hops bring fantastic tropical notes and a beautifully balanced honey-sweet malt backbone.
Do I like it? – Yes. I like this a lot.  This is a very good IPA and I enjoy it immensely. The balance between the hops and malt is beautifully done. This is a beer that I’m going to be happy to drink regularly. Even with the price point, this beer will be stocking my fridge.

I plan to review all of the beers we will be getting from Surly so be sure to follow along. There is a lot of stuff I am looking forward to doing this year and a lot of new breweries on the verge of opening. Keep following along for all your beer needs.

-Beer Winnipeg

Beau’s – Full Time IPA

Beau’s keeps sending new beers out our way and I’m happy about that. While I am mostly focused on what’s happening here locally, and what beers we can get from our local folks, I do enjoy reviewing these beers from Beau’s.

I did a pretty in-depth write up about Beau’s when I met with co-founder Steve Beauchesne, but I do want to reiterate a bit about the brewery. Founded in 2006 in Vanleek Hill, Ontario by father and son Tim and Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s is an employee-owned and completely independent Canadian craft brewery. They are also the official beer of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The Full-Time IPA from Beaus is starting to pop up on shelves in Liquor Marts around the city. So now is the perfect time for a writeup of this beer.

*Writer’s Note: I did receive this beer review free of charge. This did not influence my write-up. *

Full-Time IPA

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed at this time. Hops are used as a preservative of sorts, to help keep the beer fresh. If you were preparing a beer for a long trip from England to India, you’d need to add a lot of hops. So, while the IPA if consumed in England before shipping would be quite hoppy, at the other end it likely would not. Today, the tradition of hopping beers continues, but we don’t have as far to send them, and the goal is to make a hoppy beer. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.

While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often showcase the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer.  Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought using a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. On most IPAs you’ll see an IBU (international bitterness units) number that gives you an idea of how bitter it might be. For comparison, Torque’s American Pale Ale (Foundation) comes in at 30 IBUs, Half-Pints little Scrapper comes in at 50, and Barn Hammer’s Saturday Night Lumberjack at 75 IBUs.

Beau’s has used their skills to bring us a 6.7% abv 60 IBU IPA. This beer has used simcoe, cascade, nelson sauvin and citra hops which will bring out aromas of pine and citrus and tropical fruit. Simcoe and Citra are two of my favorite hops for the profiles they bring. So, how does it taste.

ABV – 6.7%
Appearance – Pours a hazy golden with a nice fluffy white foam that retains well.
Smell – Simcoe hop bringing the pine aroma along with some citrus and tropical fruit notes. Citra has a very distinct smell and comes through nicely.
Taste – Ver similar to the aroma. The pine notes come through from the simcoe on the front followed by the nice citrus juiciness tropical fruit. Finish is a nice dry lingering hop bitterness with those fruit notes hanging around as well.
Mouth Feel – Medium bodied, pine and fruit front with a lingering bitterness.
Overall Thoughts – Well balanced IPA bringing good aromas and flavours from the hops. Bitterness is there but not overpowering and the beer is easy to drink.
Do I like it? – Yes, I did like this beer. I don’t always go seeking IPAs these days, but I do enjoy a good one. This is a beer I’d be happy to have in my fridge regularly and I hope I’ll have the chance.

I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.

I’ve got another post coming this week. I had a chance to check in with Stone Angel, so look for that coming tomorrow.

Keep following along as I keeping doing what I can to write about beer, breweries and brewers.

-Beer Winnipeg

 

Day 2 – Camba Bavaria – Bavarian Winter IPA

day-2-camba-bavaria-bavarian-winter

The craft beer advent calendar is a tradition for me now. It is my third year writing about each of the beers contained within and it’s also a reminder of how far I’ve managed to come with my beer education and this blog. I am a long stretch from where I was when I first began.

It was really fun trying yesterday’s beer from Italy. I found myself reminiscing of searching for craft breweries while I was there. Today I opened the second tab to see what might be in store. From one of my favorite places to visit, Bavaria (Germany) was their Bavarian Winter IPA from Camba Bavaria Brewery.

Camba Bavaria has only been brewing since 2008 and already they have produced over 50 beers ranging from Pale ales, to Helles, to Russian Imperial Stouts aged in cognac barrels. Making use of a large variety of raw materials, they are always working to be innovative. This young brewery has been working to introduce new beers practically every week.

Located in an old mill in Truchtlaching on the river Alz, Camba was originally built as a brewery pilot plant by the brewing plant manufacturer BrauKon GmbH, regarded worldwide as one of the top suppliers of brewery equipment for small- and medium-sized breweries. This means that when Camba started they were already beginning with the ideal conditions for brewing beer giving them a head start in their journey. Currently Camba employs 3 master brewers, 5 brewers, and 5 beer sommeliers and work hard to communicate and exchange with other brewers around the world.

The name Camba Bavaria is actually pretty interesting as well. Truchtlaching was originally a celtic settlement in Bavaria. The word “Camba” means “brew kettle” in old Celtic language and thus pays tribute to that heritage. The second part, obviously, comes from the region in which they are located. The village of Truchtlaching is located in Chiemgau, one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in Bavaria.

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed at this time. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia, the BJCP Guidelines (Page 37) or IPA Beer.

While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often showcase the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer.  Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought by the use of a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. Whether there is anything special about this in being a “Bavarian Winter” IPA is unknown, but I’m certainly excited to see. Now, onto this specific beer.

Appearance – Pale golden, almost amber with a good 3” of head that retains well and leaves lacing as it fades.
Smell –  Resinous hop notes that come through strong. Grapefruit citrus and a sweet tropical fruit note that is likely the lychee (I’ve never had one but my wife says that’s what it smells like.)
Taste –  Good bitterness on the front, not overpowering, with a sweet candy like taste and some grapefruit tartness. Finishes with a subtle lingering bitterness and citrus notes.
Mouth feel
– Medium body with an upfront resinous bitterness, candy sweetness in the middle and a subtle lingering bitterness on finish.
Overall – A well hopped, but not overpowering, IPA that offers a good combinations of resinous hop notes combined with subtle citrus and candy sweetness.
Do I like it?
– I found it to be fine. With the plethora of IPAs out there and the number that I’ve had, I find myself craving different beers than IPAs these days. I wasn’t a huge fan of the candied sweetness, but other than that I found it to be enjoyable.

 

Fuggles and Warlock Two-fer

So, I’m gonna do a two for one today. There are two beers that have recently hit the Liquor Marts here in Manitoba from the brewery Fuggles and Warlock.  I’m going to give you my thoughts on both of them today.  Let’s go!

Brewery

Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks is a brewery located in Richmond B.C.  Their motto is “Keeping Beer Weird”.  This means that they try to push the traditional styles of beer as far as they can by adding “a West Coast flair”.  They are also really big geeks and reference a lot of video games and pop culture in their beers.

This dynamic duo, Dan Colyer and Tony Laci, began brewing beer through collaborations and contract brews and only opened up their own brewery in 2015.  The first production brewery in Richmond, it stands at a whopping 13,000 sq/ft.  They have a variety of beers already coming out, Destiny IPA, Raiden Black IPA, Personas West Coast Common, to name a few.

I think we can expect to see more from Fuggles and Warlock as they continue to grow and get their distribution set.  As a young brewery they’ve got a lot of ambition and some neat toys, I’m looking forward to seeing what other beers get sent our way.

The Beer

So, we have two beers from Fuggles and Warlock on the shelves at our local Liquor Marts.  The first is “Destiny IPA” and the second is “Personas West Coast Common”.

IPA

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.

At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed at this time. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia or IPA Beer.

While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often showcase the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer.  Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought by the use of a large quantity of hops is not for everyone.

West Coast Common

This beer, while called a west coast common, is a variation on the California Common style.

This style originated in the 18th century when brewers, who unless rich didn’t have access to refrigeration, brewed lagers at a warmer temperature.   They needed to be creative in the way they cooled down the beer, often using shallow fermenters.

This resulted in the lager yeast being trained to ferment faster at warmer temperatures.  The style is also often referred to as a “Steam Beer” and some commercial versions include Anchor Steam.

You can expect the beer to be light and fruity with some graininess from the malt, a toasted characteristic and a showcasing of rustic hops.

 

As always, I suggest people who are interested take a read through the BJCP guidelines or the American Brewers Association guidelines. Both are interesting and fun to read.

Review

IPA

Appearance:  Clear golden brown with about 1” of thin head that dissipates leaving some lacing around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Big citrus notes of oranges and grapefruit with some hint of passionfruit and a slight spice/resinous note at the back of the nose.

Mouth feel:  Good carbonation that tingles the tongue, silky mouth feel that is light with a dry bitter finish.

Taste: Citrus notes of grapefruit come through the strongest with some spice and resinous notes. Passionfruit is noticeable as well. The grapefruit and resinous notes bring a nice citrusy bitterness to the taste that lingers well into the finish.

Overall: A well balanced IPA that brings a variety of hops to the table. The bitterness is certainly there the whole way through. The finish a little on the harsh side and I think a crisper finish would be nice.

Do I like it:  While I said the finish was a bit on the harsh side, I actually like that. I think that this IPA is quite nice and I’m pretty happy with it. It certainly doesn’t stand out from other IPAs I’ve had but it a tasty IPA that I’d be happy to drink again.

 

 

West Coast Common

 Appearance:  Murky copper brown with about 1” of head that dissipates leaving lacing on the edge of the glass.

Smell: Caramel and toffee come through on the nose as well as a bit of a bready note. There is a slight citrus profile there as well on the nose but really faint.

Mouth feel:  Soft carbonation that’s just about right with a grainy mouth feel and a sweet finish with just a hint of bitterness.

Taste: Comes through as a more malt forward version of an APA. The citrus notes and bitterness from the hops (almost identical hops to their Destiny IPA) comes through quite prominently. The malt notes are more present but the hop notes take the front.

Overall: I’m not sure what to say on style. It’s a bit  like an APA/California common cross, from my perspective. It has a very hop forward taste with some good malt characteristics. The finish isn’t really crisp like I’d expect from a lagerish style, but it certainly has the malt, and certainly showcases the hops.

Do I like it:  I like this beer, quite a bit. The malty characteristics add a bit of depth of flavour to this one that compliments the use of hops quite well. I enjoy the hop forward flavour in combination with the malt.

 

Day 3 – Aspen Brewing Company – Independence Pass Ale

Beer 3 - Aspen Brewing Company - Independence Pass Ale

Every morning when I wake up I am hit with a little twinge of excitement to see what new brew I will find today. This calendar is really something that brings a lot of joy to this craft beer lover’s morning.  This morning was a little bit more frustrating given that the particular beer had shifted and was rather stuck.  After about 10 minutes of shifting, opening the top of the box (my wife did so I wouldn’t peek) and shifting things around, we managed to remove the beer from it’s precarious position.

The third beer of the craft beer advent calendar is Aspen Brewing Company’s Independence Pass Ale.

Aspen Brewing Company was founded in 2008 by Duncan Clauss.  He had recently graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and wanted to bring craft beer back to Aspen.  Previously Aspen had been home to Flying Dog Brewing Co. When Flying Dog moved all of it’s production to Frederick Maryland in 2006, it left a gap in the craft beer market in Aspen. Duncan and his crew of five, including head brewer PJ Goudreault, filled this gap and has been producing beers that represent the outdoor lifestyle of Aspen for the past 7 years.

Aspen Brewing Company focuses a lot of it’s profits and beer on the local community putting philanthropy and community support as one of it’s primary tasks.  They’ve supported dozens of local community ventures and take applications every year from those non-profits seeking support.  Aspen is also committed to the environment being one of three breweries to sign the Clean Water Act with environment Colorado and the US Environmental protection agency.  They’ve also signed onto the Brewers for climate change declaration.  They also practice a number of efficiency measures to keep their carbon foot print as low as possible.  Check out what they do for the environment here.

Aspen brews a number of beers divided into three “series” of beers.  The first is their Silver Queen Series.  The beer we have today comes from this series and it is their year round series of beers.  They also have a series of Seasonal beers as well as a Temerity Series of barrel aged beers.   The beer we have from them, the Independence Pass Ale, is a super-hopped IPA.  The beer is named Aspen’s eastern boundary and 12,095ft high elevation pass.  It comes in a 7% abv (alcohol by volume) and 62 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).

IPAs or India Pale Ale, have a storied history. The first known use of the term comes from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829.  At this time, they were also referred to as a “pale ale as prepared for India”, “East India pale ale”, and “Export India Pale Ale”.  These types of IPAs were widely popular amongst the East India company and, while considered very hoppy, they were not much stronger than other beers brewed at this time. If you’re curious about IPAs check out Wikipedia or IPA Beer.

While these beers are part of the pale ale family, they are strongly hopped and often showcase the variety of flavours and complexities that can come from the simple ingredients used to brew beer.  Many will say the IPAs are an acquired taste, and they are rather unique, the bitterness brought by the use of a large quantity of hops is not for everyone. Now, onto this specific beer.

Appearance – Pours hazy, medium copper colour with about an inch of white head.
Smell – Passionfruit and blood orange on the nose.  Very fruity nose.
Taste – Very sweet for an IPA. Passionfruit comes through on the taste and is really balanced with a subtle bitterness that doesn’t denote the 62 IBUs this beer contains.
Mouth feel – smooth mouthfeel that lingers slightly with sweetness.
Overall – Pretty good IPA.  Not over the moon about it. The balance of the sweetness and the bitterness makes it a good IPA for someone who isn’t really into bitter IPAs and might be a good launching pad for those folks.
Do I like it?
– I think it is okay. I’m not going to go out and seek this particular IPA, there are so many really strong ones, but if I was at a friends and they had it I’d be happy to drink it.

76/100