I’m off to Maui for a few weeks of the beach, sun and surf. In anticipation of my 16 days escaping the last drags of Canadian winter I picked up the newest Maui Brewing beer to cruise into Alberta. Big Swell IPA is held in high esteem as being a proper IPA with big tropical fruits and tangy citrus. The drunken uncle of Big Swell is the Lorenzini Double IPA named after the Ampullae of Lorenzini the electroreceptor cells in sharks that provide an extra sense to cartilaginous fish (ie. Sharks). Throwing all this mumbo jumbo aside this brew is brewed as a charitable collaboration with the Shark Research Program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Lorenzini DIPA is brewed to a moderate 7.6% ABV with the helping hands of Maui cane sugar, tangerine, blood orange and a hop bill that includes Azacca, El Dorado and Sorachi Ace.
The first pour is a dark ruby hued orange with a thick off white head that subsides eventually leaving a thin layer of bubbles. The aroma is citrus heavy with tons of fruit juice aromas including tangerine, orange and a tropical accent of pineapple. Nice hop profile on the aroma with light zesty and citrus aromas, spicy and mildly floral notes. A bit sweet up front with light crystal malts and caramel notes blending with the fruity components of the hops. Citrus abounds with heavy orange rind and zesty notes adding a zing to the flavour profile. The finish is mildly bitter with lingering notes of Sorachi Ace hops; lightly floral and an astringency throughout. A nice brew overall with a unique and heavy hop that adds both bitterness to the finish and a plethora of citrus and tropical fruit notes. The alcohol is a bit low for the style but adds a bit of weight to the proceedings. A very enjoyable brew.
This unique IPA is a creation from the hands of Stone Brewing in Escondido, California as well as Baird Brewing in Numazu, Japan and Ishii Brewing in Guam. Baird is a well known brewer and one of the main proponents of the current Japanese craft beer wave. Ishii is a brewing I have to admit to never hearing of. On the back label it explains that Toshi Ishii was a brewer at Stone before moving to Guam to start the islands first brewery. The Japanese Green Tea is brewed as a Imperial IPA with 9.2% ABV that is ‘dry-hopped’ with whole leaf tea. This beer was first made as a collaboration in 2011 and has been recreated with Helga hops from Australia.
Cracking the bottle and pouring out the body is a bright ambery orange with a solid stream of carbonation reaching to the thin cap of dense pure white head. The aroma is heavy with green tea notes as well as noted herbal and floral accents. A rather malty Imperial IPA both by appearance and by the presence of toasted caramel and toffee malts that contrast the tea leaves. A fresh and zesty hops with a beautiful citrus and grass flavour. Quite leafy and herbal tasting with a commanding flavour of green tea throughout the profile. You certainly must have to like green tea to find this beer agreeable. A good hop and malt balance with a fairly heavy body and a thick, slick mouthfeel. Overall a unique and expertly executed collaboration that I hope to try the next iteration of.
After hitting the shelves in the fall of 2014 Alberta has received a few seasonal and special release brews from the Escondido brewer. Enjoy By IPA is one of their most infamous brews as it is purposely built with a drink by date with the intention of showing the freshest possible flavour profile. The different iterations of Enjoy By going back to 2012 vary slightly. At 9.4% ABV I suppose 02-14-15 Enjoy By is going to be a extra well hopped fresh version of Ruination Imperial IPA.
Pouring out a bright copper hued with bright flashes of orange and a thick fluffy head of puffy white. Tons of fresh hop lacing splotches mark the glass. The aroma is pungent and bursting with tons of floral hop notes. Caramel and toasted malts blend with lightly spicy hops and floral notes. Tons of beautiful grapefruit, citrus fruit and pine resin notes as well as lighter fruity notes. Lots of the typical Imperial IPA flavours in the profile with an extra fresh hop that exudes plenty of tropical fruits, resin notes and zesty citrus fruits. The body is heavy like a darker ale with boisterous resins and moderate astringent bitterness. A heavy and slick mouthfeel that enhances the flavour profile of the flavour profile. The alcohol on the finish is subtle with a bit of a lingering aftertaste of sticky resin. Enjoy By is a wonderfully complex and fresh IPA that proves to me that the concept for a beer not meant to last is the proper way to brew beer.
New Belgium as been on the market in Alberta for the most part of 2014 and we have been able to try several of the Colorado brewery’s Double IPA’s. The newest of these to hit the shelves is the Rampant Imperial IPA touting 8.5% ABV and 85 IBU’s thanks to the use of Calypso, Mosaic and Centennial hops.
Pouring out a bright golden copper hue with a thick pillowy head a shade off white with tons of sticky lacing that coats the glass. The nose is emphatically hopped with notes of citrus and tropical stonefruit standing out with grassy and hay floral notes. A nice toasted caramel and honey sweet malt in the mid palate that should balance nicely with the mounds of fruity hops and bitter notes on the finish. Beautiful hop and fruity flavours abound with peach, stonefruit, pineapple, grapefruit and pine resin all making appearances. The finish is bitter and crisp with a sticky resinous mouthfeel that adds to the astringency. A bit of warm booziness finishes the flavour profile as moderate hop notes linger into an aftertaste with dry stoenfruit notes. Overall, a nice heavily hopped Imperial IPA with light malt notes and a good balance. The only drawback I find is that Rampant lacks a bit in originality and acts alot like a hyped up version of New Belgium’s Ranger IPA.
Situated in Las Vegas, Nevada the Tenaya Creek Brewing Company has slowly crept onto Alberta beer shelves over the past year with a selection of a few flagship beers to start. This past week we received a slew of seasonal brews from the Sin City brewer which included the Double IPA known as Monsoon. Monsoon is brewed with Cascade and whole flower Mt. Hood hops with a sturdy ABV of 8.5%. Despite having one of the worst labels I’ve personally seen I know not to judge a book by its cover. During my trip to Las Vegas to celebrate finishing University I remember sitting in the pub in the Monte Carlo enjoying a few of Tenaya Creek’s beers. For me Tenaya Creek beers are associated with the Vegas experience I had; one of fun and celebration.
Monsoon pours out a bright golden orange colour with a thick and sticky off white head that looks truly appetizing. Large blobs of lacing coat the entire glass showing evidence of a solid fresh hop content. Taking my first solid sniff of Monsoon I notice a very fruit forward, resin filled aroma of grapefruit, tropical fruits, pine and a light herbal hop note. The malts are mostly non-evident in the aroma with the hop presence being rather strong. The first sip has a mild malty sweetness with flavors of caramel and toasted bread coming through with a general fruit flavor. A bunch of grapefruit, pear and pineapple notes become apparent after a second before the hops force their way through. There is a solid bitterness at first with a moderate acidity and a resinous smack on the finish. A fairly heavy bitterness and pine resin flavor lingers for close to a 30 seconds before subsiding. Monsoon has quite a heavy hitting hop profile with a good balance of sweet malt and fruity notes to balance out well. Overall a solid Double IPA from Tenaya Creek despite the horrendous label.
Amidst the deluge of new craft beers from across the globe making their way onto Alberta shelves are brews from Stockholm’s gypsy brewer Omnipollo. Omnipollo is one of Sweden’s newest breweries to brew unique and artisinal brews in a wild variety of styles. Nathalius is an 8% ABV Imperial IPA by style but with a major twist. Nathalius is brewed with rice and corn; ingredients usually considered to be adjuncts in beer. Nathalius was first brewed as a collaboration project with Baltimore, MD brewery Stillwater.
Pouring a bright yellowish orange Nathalius is well topped with a heady serving of dense white foam. A nice stream of bubbles stream upwards glistening in the body. The nose has a certain graininess that is slightly off putting. Aromas of rice, slight skunk, firmly resinous hop notes and lemon zest are duly noted. A mild honeyed sweetness in the mid palate with an adjoining maltiness of cereals and grains. Light grassy and citrus hop notes become prevalent towards the finish with moderate bitterness. A rather acidic finish with a lingering resinous bitterness. Overall Nathalius is a bit of a mess stylistically despite the firm hoppy characteristics.
For those who have read this blog in the past year or so you may have noticed a plethura of beer reviews from East Vancouver’s Parallel 49. Since releasing beers into Alberta we have seen some of the most unique and inspired Canadian craft beer. Their latest unique creation is the Imperial IPA Snap, Crackle and Hop brewed with rice and Moteuka hops from New Zealand. Snap, Crackle, Hop is brewed to 9.3%ABV with a moderate 70 IBU’s. Before I even open up this bottle I must absolutely mention that Snap, Crackle, Hop must have the best bottle artwork I’ve seen.
Snap, Crackle, Hop pours a bright golden and amber hue with a sticky and thin bright white head. The nose is grainy and a tad toasted with a light cracked pepper and spice note. There is a beautiful floral and fruity aroma filled with notes of pineapple, guava, mango and kiwi. A great toasted and grainy malt mid palate with a smooth but mild creamy lactose like flavour. There is a musty dryness on the finish with a general resinous smack of hops with a lack of overall bitterness. A rather mild and subdued flavor profile despite the aroma and style.
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery located in Barrie, Ontario has slowly started to release a few of the specialty releases into Alberta and Western Canada. The most recent of these is the Matador a 10% ABV Imperial IPA aged on Spanish Cedar brewed specially for Flying Monkeys’ 8th Anniversary. The bottle this beer and the brewing of it as follows:
“Aged on a bed of Spanish Cedar, a hardwood most commonly used in sweet-smelling cigar boxes, The Matador’s faboulous aroma cradles a spicy, peppery zing in the rich warm smells of leather and wood. Amarillo hops give this Imperial IPA astounding citrus flavours while pushing its bittering to a solid 88 IBUs. A beer made for sharing with true aficionados.”
Opening up the lovely presentation box and a beautiful bottle makes me realize just what bottle art and presentation can do for a beer. Pouring Matador into my Dieu du Ciel! tulip a massive foamy off white head forms although it dissapates rather quickly. The appearance is that of an IPA with a bright orange body and a golden ue throughout with a thin yellowish off white head and a few big sticky lacing splotches around the glass. I am surprised to see no carbonation after the intense head when I first poured it before I remembered it had by aged on wood which would soften the carbonation. The aroma has a unique pine filled substance with big earthen sweetness and sweet cedary scents. The hops are a little bit subtle on the aroma despite moderate grapefruit and resinous aromas. This is a very unique smelling beer and my first sip is very apprehensive. The mid-palate is full of glorious woody accents and slight fruity flavours including a ton of pine needles and just a general funky wood flavour. Although its not quite as abashing as sticking a piece of cedar in your mouth there is a definite cedar flavour throughout the taste profile. Moderate hop flavour leaves me in ponderance and wanting more of a sticky resinous finish and overall bitterness regardless of the flavourful zesty citrus and big pine flavour. I can’t say much of the drinkability nor the general balance of this beer due to the general quirkiness and unique taste. The finish has a big lingering pine needle and cedar woodiness unlike any other beer available. Despite all the pros and cons of this beer I can say with complete confidence that The Matador is one of the most experimental and unrelentingly different. And for these reasons this beer is a must try because no one else to my knowledge has tried something so outlandish.
Over the past weekend I along with several friends went on a celebratory trip to Las Vegas, Nevada the so-called Sin City. After my friends missing their flights and myself arriving 7 hours earlier than their deferred flights I found myself wandering into a Pub in Monte Carlo. This aptly named “Pub” happened to have a hell of a tap list and had six Left Coast beers on $5 pint specials for the afternoon. I surely couldn’t miss that offer. After a quick google I learnt that Left Coast Brewing Co. is a chain of Brewpubs and pizza restuarants with four locations in California. The first beer I decided to try was the Hop Juice Double IPA which was chosen for obvious reasons. The Hop Juice is a hop heavy San Diego style Double IPA brewed to a whopping 9.7% ABV with 82 IBU’s through the addition of Cascade, Mt Hood, Centennial, CTZ and Simcoe hops. Hop Juice is also dry hopped for two weeks with Centennial for extra hop power. The pour is a glorious bright orange in the body and has a thick and sticky frothy head that coats the entire glass after a few sips. The aroma is pronouncedly resinous including noted herbal and pine scents and fresh grapefruit zest notes. A rather full and floral nose with heavy tropical fruits and mild toasted caramalized malts atop the heaps of hop aromas. My first few sips were quite sweet and resin forward with enhanced bitterness and dry astringency after a few more sips. The bitterness and resinous smack is long lasting and adds a few tropical pineapple and grapefruity citrus flavours into the mix. The boozyness goes unnoticed with a prolonged bitterness stealing the show.Light floral notes and subtle toasted malts are subtley shoved aside in the heavy hop centric flavour profile. Overall, a nice Double IPA overall with a heavy staying power and big bold hops throughout.
The smaller and equally powerful cousin of the Hop Juice is the Trestles. Trestles is single IPA brewed with CTZ, Chinook and Simcoe hops as well as dry hopped with Simcoe and Centennial to 92 IBU’s and 6.8% ABV. Trestles pours a brilliant gold with a hue of light orange in the body and a thin creamy off white head that somehow looks out of place. The aroma much less brutal and intense with poignant pine resins but with mild citrus and light floral accented hops aromas. There are a few mild grainy malt and toasted malts notes in the aroma despite the rather golden appearance. Sweet citrusy hops in the first sips with more caramel malts than expecting adding sweetness and a good balance. Mild resinous and piney flavours add an interesting character to the mix with moderately heavy bitterness shortly following. The finish is overly astringent but a solid aftertaste of resinous hops is present. Not exactly tasting as much bitterness and drying hops as expected but a nice well balanced hop heavy brew none-the-less. Overall, a solid brew I am glad I tried. Unfortunately I wanted to try the Voodoo Stout after this but the keg ran dry.
Granville Island Brewery in Vancouver, British Columbia has been a cornerstone of the Canadian craft brewing industry since its founding in 1984. Despite its purchase by SABMiller via Creemore Springs in 2009, the Granville brewery has been pumping out solid craft brews for close to 3 decades. Thanks to the recent purchase by the large conglomerate, Alberta has recently been able to sample many of the lesser known Granville brews made at their Granville Island brewpub. The Imperial IPA is the most recent addition to this big bottle lineup of full flavoured brews.
This Imperal IPA is fashioned in the San Diego style at 8.6% ABV and 100 IBU’s with added citrus peel to the boil. As is typical, Granville’s Imperial IPA is brewed with toasted English malts and a full heap of Pacific Northwest hops. Pouring a bright, vivid orange-gold colour with a well carbonated body and a light beige head that fizzles instantly to nothing. A few white splotches of head coat the glass for a short while before fading away prematurely. The aroma has a mild Pacific NW feel with heavy resin and piney hop aromas full frontal with obvious citrus notes. The aroma lacks an overall malt character midst the heavy hop scents. The flavour is unbalanced and rather resinous upfront with heavy citric hop acids and a light toasted malt. A bit of an overall sweet flavour and notes of lemon peel and fresh grapefruit juice join the party. The finish has an abrupt and potent astringent bitterness although short lived as it fades quickly. Overall, not as memorable as many BC or Cascadian counterparts, this is a solid well hopped Imperial IPA.
Grade: 87/100 Price: $7.59