By: Grand River Brewing
Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA) – 6.50%
Bottled March 17, 2012. Drank April 6, 2012.
Appearance: A deep copper with reddish tones. Clear, with a thick, firm off-white head which doesn’t show any signs of dissipating. Almost like the kind of head you get on a Guinness or Kilkenny type of beer. It might be faulted for being a little too dark (almost like an ESB) for the style, but not by me.
Smell: Some toasty malts. A little dry earthy-ness from the hops. A little light floral, somewhat creamy smelling, like a strawberry ice-cream.
Flavour: Assertive hop bitterness. Very assertive! One of the finest bitters I’ve had in a while, actually. It’s sharp, acidic (like a grapefruit in bitterness and acidy) and wraps around your tongue. The opening, however, is mild and pleasant. There are toffee, caramel, and bread notes. With the floral from the hops the malt sweetness is almost like strawberry. It finishes dry. The bitterness lingers in a really perfect way.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth. The creamy head appearance does not betray the mouthfeel. It’s creamy like it’s from a nitro can but it was just a normal bottle. A medium body with a fairly light carbonation. A little alcohol warming which works with the lingering bitter.
Overall: An extremely well executed beer. It’s earthy with a rich malt body, a killer bitter, and a creamy mouthfeel and head. One of the best English IPA’s I’ve ever had. This would be absolutely awesome on cask somewhere. It would pair well with good pub food like (a good) fish and chips or meat pies. The bitter and the alcohol warming are strong enough to cut through heavy, greasy, rich foods. It’s also perfect for on its own.
o my understanding of this style they have nailed it pretty hard. As much love as I have for the American style IPAs, this makes me want more English ones – especially more of this one. Someone put this on cask somewhere, now. Or someone drive me to Cambridge tomorrow so I can stock up, these folks make more beers than are offered in the Toronto LCBOs.