Review: Garrison Brewing Co. - Imperial IPA

If you've followed our tweets or instagram posts, you'll notice there's a couple Garrison fans here in the club.  I, for one, am lucky enough to have a lovely lady in my life who is from Nova Scotia.  So when relatives come to visit, or we go to visit them, I wind up with a healthy stash of Garrison brews.  I even recently hosted an OBC meeting where I featured this brewery, which you can find a few photos of up on our Facebook page.  You can obviously tell I'm one of those fans.  

So imagine my excitement when I found out they were finally shipping their product to the LCBO.  To be fair, they started off with only one of their beers: their Imperial IPA.  I'm assuming this was their test run to see if Ontario would be a viable market for their beer - and why wouldn't it?  We love our craft beer here!  

Let's see if this beer was the right choice for Garrison to break into the Ontario market...

It pours a beautiful copper orange with some light haziness.  There's a thick, fluffy off-white head with nice retention and a lot of lacing.

The aroma is very pine-like with some strong notes of grapefruit citrus.  There's also a very hoppy bitterness in the nose with undertones of fresh grain.  For an 8% ale, I was expecting to get a little booziness in the smell, but it's really not there.

That being said, there's definitely some booziness in the flavour.  It's not up front or necessarily pronounced, but it's there under everything else.  Up front I got a lot of citrus and bitterness.  The same notes of grapefruit, pine and hops from the nose are there, but on top of that there's definitely some strong caramel malt tones.  I find this caramel ties everything together and balances this beer very, very well.

The mouthfeel is nice, very smooth and crisp.  As big as the citrus and bitterness is, it doesn't leave a long lasting aftertaste.  The carbonation is just the right level.

Overall, I think this is a great IPA, one of the better ones we can get at the LCBO.  You have to be a fan of big and bold citrusy and bitter IPAs to enjoy this.  Much like my friend Eric's recent review on Dieu du Ciel's Moralité, you'll like this if you enjoy other IPAs like Muskoka's Mad Tom.

If you think this review might have enticed you to try this, you can grab a 500mL bottle from the LCBO for $4.10.  Let me know what you think!

-James