August 1st! A wonderful time of year where beer lovers everywhere spread their love for IPAs. And no, we don't mean Alexander Keith's. A couple of the boys and I sat down to enjoy a few different IPAs and we wanted to share our thoughts in an attempt to expand beer horizons (our own and yours.)
Flying Monkeys Smashbomb Atomic IPA
Hugh: Off the nose beautiful head of caramel amongst grassy aromas. Light and clean mouthfeel up front, really smooth, hoppy bitter wash at the end. Easy drinking face crusher. 4/5
Nick: For a beer with so much hop, the citrus balances it out throughout. The hop bitterness really only becomes apparent at the end. This is a face crusher. 4/5
James: Boozy and caramel nose. Crisp and refreshing, smooth light floral and grassy tones. Hops bitterness build over time and leaves a lasting aftertaste. For a big, hoppy beer, this is very sessionable. 3.5/5
Kensington Brewing Company Fish Eye
Hugh: Beautiful appearance, crystal ruby look is fantastic. Unfortunate aroma, not much to impress upon - a little "wine-y" but mostly tin. Very bitter with a surprising alcohol heat in the bitterness with very little hop flavour at the end. 3/5
Nick: Very faint smell of hops with almost a sweetness to it, but so miniscule it's barely worth mentioning. Definite pronounced hop up front, hops quickly dissipates, very smooth through the middle, with a strong bitterness at the end that doesn't linger too longer. Overall enjoyable, could use more character, but it is a beer I would drink again. 3/5
James: First time trying this one. Incredible look, clear, red amber, loving the head retention and lacing. Weak nose with a little booziness apparent. Fairly balanced, alcohol from nose is apparent in the mouthfeel. Some bitterness, but not the typical hoppiness you'd expect, more on par with an ESB than an IPA. 3/5
Double Trouble Hops & Robbers
Hugh: Maltiness up front in both nose and flavour. Pilsner-like. Decent bitterness with a neutral hop flavour. Feels more like an overhopped pilsner than an IPA. Still very good. 3.5/5
Nick: Read the can: "You're holding Canada's most sessionable IPA." Couldn't agree more. The hops is pronounced but not overwhelming. Smooth balance of malt and citrus that keeps me wanting another sip (gulp for me.) 4.5/5
James: I get a fair amount of citrus from the nose that carries into the flavour. The hoppiness is there, but the typical bitterness you'd expect is not there - and that's not a bad thing. This is a very well-balanced IPA: smooth, citrusy (but not too much) and sessionable. 4.5/5
Alexander Keith's Cascade Hop Ale
Okay, before we get into it, I have some explaining to do. The Cascade does not claim to be an IPA like a regular Keith's does. We decided to try it out anyway as it is hoppier than their flagship and we wanted to see how it would do against the craft brewers we were sampling.
Hugh: Milk Duds. Wait, can I elaborate on that? I'm getting a caramel aroma with a slight hint of chocolate. I'm not getting a whole lot of hop. (looks over to Nick) Maybe you should "hop" on it. More bitter than your average Keith's. 3.5/5
Nick: There is some malty sweetness in the nose. The hoppiness is minimal - if at all. I'm going to put this on record: I feel that the last time I had this the hops were more pronounced, but in this can I'm tasting almost nothing at all. There is some hop character, but nothing you would expect from a traditional IPA. 3/5
James: Slightly sweet caramel and banana in the nose. There's hops in this? Somewhere, I'm sure. I think I got some hoppiness somewhere... maybe, or was that left over from the previous beer? Definetely more than in a regular Keith's, so that's saying something, right? Overall, unimpressive but inoffensive. 2.5/5
So there you have it. Get out there and enjoy an IPA today. If you stop by your local liquor store to pick one up buy a second and share it with a friend. The great thing about expanding your beer horizons is sharing the experience with those around you.
One last note, I've had a couple people ask me about the glassware I've been using in my pictures lately. We got these Spiegelau IPA glasses from the fine folks over at Half Full Glassware & Accessories. A set of 2 goes for $20 which you can find here. These glasses are great: sturdy, light and dishwasher safe. I find it helps maintain a thick head while also accentuating the nose. All around great glasses, and not surprising considering it was made in collaboration with Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada.
Thanks for reading and have a Hoppy IPA day!