Rarely have I sampled a beer I’ve been so excited to try. For starters, Cascadian dark ales don’t exactly abound out here in the Maritimes. And ever since my brother moved to British Columbia, I’ve been listening to him rave about the great craft-beer scene out there. One of his favourites is the Cannery Brewing Company in Pentincton. I found some of their Skaha Summer Ale in Moncton last summer—just enough to pique my interest. So recently, I prevailed upon my brother to send me “their most unique beer.”
From the brewery: This unique black India Pale Ale is a tribute to the firefighters and emergency service workers who help fight our Canadian wildfires each year. Wildfire IPA is intensely dark and smooth. This black IPA has complex hops that rage through to the finish. Fierce hop, gentle bite! A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this beer go to the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Appearance: A beautiful inky black pour—it looks like midnight in a glass. A rich aromatic head, with thick off-white froth and lacing that goes on for days.
Aroma: A little hit of wildflowers at first, followed by strong roasty smell—think burnt toast with a hint of sweet malt.
Taste: That burnt-toast sensation carries over into the first taste, but quickly gives way to bit waves of grassy hops, one after the other. With lively carbonation and a light mouthfeel, it’s much easier-drinking than the aroma or appearance would suggest.
Overall: Complex without being overwhelming, deliciously hoppy without going too far—this is a well crafted, nuanced and surprisingly subtle beer. It was a fantastic introduction to the style, and well worth the wait.
Guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing).