Tag Archives: IPA

AMERICAN ADVENTURE: 5 FAVOURITES FROM A RECENT U.S. ROAD TRIP

Here in Atlantic Canada, beer drinkers are just close enough to the U.S. to get tantalizing hints of the great brews we’re missing. American craft brewers like Maine’s Geaghan Bros. show up at the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival and you’ll find the odd surprise in stores. But for the most part, the American craft-beer scene is a big tasty world we don’t get to explore. 

 

So when it came time for a family trip stateside in early October, my first thought was “BEER!” Read on for my five favourites from the trip. Note: I spent most of my time in Rhode Island and Maine; by no means did I do a comprehensive review of the country’s (or even those states’) best beers. These are my favourites from what I sampled. You have different favourites? Vive la différence.

 

Czech Pilsner by Moat Mountain in North Conway, N.H. 

A classic Bohemian pilsner: light, crisp and refreshing. A little orange-peel zestiness with black-pepper hints. Clean and dry finish. Easy to drink, surprisingly tasty for the style, and a modest 4.9% ABV: this is an all-day drinker. Best enjoyed on a verandah overlooking the White Mountains. 

 

Frosty Stout by Newport Craft Brewing in Newport, R.I. 

I picked this one up after an earnest endorsement from the cashier at Beach Wine and Liquors in Middletown, R.I. and it ended up being my favourite beer from the trip. Produced in collaboration with beloved local ice-cream parlor Frosty Freez, this is a rich and nutty stout, creamy and quaffable with a bittersweet finish.

 

Pumking by Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, N.Y.

I typically wouldn’t cross the street for a pumpkin beer, but I’ve read repeatedly that this one is the gold standard for the style, so I was keen to give it a try. And I’m glad I did. Spicy, sweet, butter, light-bodied, and well balanced: pretty much the best pumpkin beer I’ve ever had. At 8.6%, it finishes with some boozy heat and packs a wallop. Share with friends.

 

Pale Ale by Tuckerman Brewing Company in Conway, N.H. 

If I had to pick only one style of beer to drink for the rest of my life, it would be the classic American pale ale. Flavourful, easy to drink, and hoppy without stunning the palate. At its best, the style is everything a beer should be. And this cold-conditioned and dry-hopped ale is a textbook example. Naturally carbonated in bottle or keg with the German “krausening” process, this brew has a simple and straightforward profile that belies the craftmanship behind it. 

 

Captain’s Daughter by Grey Sail Brewing in Westerly, R.I. 

Balance is important and all things in moderation… but hey, sometimes you just need a big boozy hop bomb. This DIPA fits the bill nicely. Massively hopped with chinook, citra, and mosaic, it manages to have tons of hop flavor without that fresh-cut-grass bitterness that plagues the style. Pleasantly bittersweet, it goes down easily; at 8.5% ABV, it punishes the careless can-pounder.

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Regular contributor and 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). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.

 

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Rogue Ales – Rogue Nation Brutal India Pale Ale

I’ve been hearing American friends talk about Rogue’s (Newport, Oregon) signature IPA for ages, so I was pretty excited when I recently found it at RockHead Wine & Beer Market in Halifax. My favourite beer style is a big ballsy IPA, and I was curious to see if this one measured up to its hype.

From the brewery: Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping. The English malts used are floor malted Pipkin (a mellow cross of Maris Otter and Warboys, from an English company called Beeston), Cara Vienna and Cara Wheat.

Appearance: Cloudy orange pour with a rich and persistent white head. Strong and lingering lacing.

Aroma: Huge nose of lemon zest and fresh-cut pine. 

Taste: Cream-of-wheat sweetness up front, with a sharp lemon-zest finish. Long-lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Big carbonation means a tingly, lively mouthfeel, with a bit of tongue-curling from the aftertaste.

Overall: This IPA’s reputation is well earned. It’s nicely crafted, aggressively hoppy but not overwhelming, and expertly balanced. Add this one to your Essential American Craft Beers list.

86/100

You can find Rogue Ales on the web, and Twitter.

Regular contributor and 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). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.

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Boxing Rock – The Next Chapter

IMG_0016Located on Nova Scotia’s South Shore in the town of Shelburne, Boxing Rock Brewing Co. has made quite a name for itself. The Next Chapter was brewed using New Brunswick grown malt and in collaborate with Andrew “Esty” Estabrooks (former head brewer with Picaroons Traditional Ales of Fredericton, NB) as their first release for the New Brunswick market. This India Pale Ale is made with a healthy dose of rye added to the malt bill.

Appearance: Dark red-orange with ruby hues. Moderate amount of off-white head.

Aroma: Bright hop aroma with lots of citrus and hints of pine and early spring grass. Some malt coming through with a nice bready note. Sight spicy aroma.

Taste: Wonderful hit of hops right up front followed by a firm, but not overwhelming, bitterness. The first taste of the hops is of citrus, but quickly becomes resin and dank, with it fading back to citrus peel (grapefruit and lime). The bitterness lingers on the palate begging for another drink. There is a bit of malt, enough to hold up the bitterness, with a subtle spicy flavour from the rye.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is moderate as expected and it has a medium body. There is a very slight oiliness, probably from the hop load or maybe the rye.

Overall: Very drinkable. Perfectly put together with a great use of hops and malt. All the flavours work together to make a great drinking experience. This is one beer (like all the others I had from this brewery) I hope to enjoy more of.

88/90

You can find Boxing Rock on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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North Brewing – Belgian IPA

Tucked away in Halifax’s North End, North (formerly known as Bridge) Brewing Company artfully produces Belgian-style ales, riffing off that style to create big flavourful beers that make a lasting impression.

From the brewery: A dry hopped Belgian IPA. Centennial and Chinook hops are complimented by the spice and citrus character produced by our Belgian yeast strain. This ale has intense hop character without being overly bitter.

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Appearance: Golden and copper hues, cloudy amber in the glass. Slight but lingering head. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Complex nose. Green bananas, pine needles and orange zest. Tantalizing aromas that set that bar high.

Taste: The taste delivers what the nose promised. Starts with another hit of orange zest, but the hops quickly take over for a big hit of dandelion greens, cloves and peppercorns. A dry, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with average carbonation.

Overall: This is one fine IPA, one of my favourite beers from North. There is a lot going on flavour-wise, but it’s still a crisp and refreshing beer and a perfect example of what North is all about: Old World sensibilities with some daring New World experimentation.

84/100

You can find North Brewing Company on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

Regular contributor and 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). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.

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Cannery Brewing Company – Wildfire IPA

IMG_1955.JPGRarely 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 big 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.

86/100

Cannery Brewing Company can be found on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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).

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Big Spruce – Hoppily Remarried Harvest DIPA

IMG_1992.JPGBig Spruce Brewery is a small brewery located on an organic farm located in Nyanza on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. This award-winning brewery can hardly keep up with the demand for their beers. Selling their beers in local farmer’s markets, from the brewery store, and at select tap accounts, this is one small brewery with a big future.

From the brewery: “Brewed in early September and after weeks of hard work harvesting hops from our hop yard, this is a wet hopped beer that is all about featuring the best of the hops from our hop yard.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: This beer pours with a nice, but short lived off-white, creamy head. It has a great bit of lacing and is dark red-orange.

Aroma: The aroma is hoppy with fragrances of pine and a slight citrus. The smell showcases how fresh this beer is and the wet hops used.

Taste: Upfront it’s the hops. The flavour is bitter, orange peal, resin, pine, woody, and tobacco. It really is hops right through and a nice fresh flavour. It leans a bit more towards the pine as it warms slightly and becomes better – the hops are still there, but mellow and smooth out.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with a light carbonation. There is a bit of a slickness from hops.

Overall: A very nice IPA, smooth and drinkable, even with the elevated alcohol. Each drink begs for another. Its bitter, but not a palate killer – the more I drink the better this gets. This is worth the trip to Cape Breton. Well done!

87/100

You can find Big Spruce on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Amsterdam Brewery – Boneshaker India Pale Ale

IMG_1845.JPGStarted as a brew pub in Toronto, Ontario in 1986, Amsterdam Brewery has continued to expand and produce many fine beers. Mostly available in Ontario, their distribution has started to expand – and this is good news for beer lovers. Making a varied array of year-round and seasonal ales and lagers, Amsterdam is a brewery to look for.

From the brewery: “Our very first batch of Boneshaker was brewed for a local IPA challenge. Our brewers poured copious amounts of hops into the brew, balanced it out with over 5 different malts, decided to leave it unfiltered it and allowed to naturally carbonate. The result? A truly unique taste experience and an award winning IPA! Expect fresh grapefruit & pine aromas followed by massive hop flavours!”

And what did I think?

Appearance: This ale pours with a dense, rocky, off-white, big head. The colour is a burnt, dark orange and is a bit hazy, but it is heavy on the hops and unfiltered.

Aroma: The first thing that is in the nose is the hops. There is a citrus aroma, most dominated by orange. There are some sweet, toffee-like notes.

Taste: The flavour is of bitter orange – the hops are dominate up front. The flavour fades to a malt sweetness with a slight leather flavour.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium-light and it’s well carbonated. The body is lightened by the carbonation.

Overall: Great balance in this beer. The hops are definitely there, but there is a nice malt backbone to balance everything else. Its a pretty easy drinking beer – not a hop-head’s dream, but certainly an IPA to try.

78/100

You can find Amsterdam Brewery on the web, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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