Every few months I come across an article written by someone I’ve never heard of talking about how the IPA craze is over, and that beer drinkers are sick of all these hops. I’m not really sure where they are getting their information, as IPA is still one of the most beloved styles for nearly all brewers, and it’s not hard to see why. The popularity has bred more innovation in the world of hops than in all other aspects of brewing combined! What with the use of experimental varieties along with the full development of said varieties, different techniques of hop usage, freeze dried lupulin powder, and more! Sure, 10-15 years ago people were hopping (no pun intended) on the more=better train, and the result was some supremely bitter beers(but some of the best as well).
Alas, that time has passed and now we’re looking for hop bombs with at least a semblance of balance and not just bitterness, and boy are modern brewers delivering! I take it as part of my job to spread this message, so my IPA tastings are as staple as my much loved sour and stout tastings. Here’s a peek of how my latest one went.
Dieu du Ciel Ultra Mosaika: Who doesn’t like Mosaic hops? Of course zero hands go up. Ultra Mosaika is an American pale with a massive load of these tropical, super aromatic green buds. Plenty of mango, citrus, papaya and prickly pear come to the table in this easy drinking powerhouse. ($17.19 for a 4-pack of bottles Currently sold out!)
Blindman New England Pale Ale: This New England style pale ale will knock your socks off with its hazy, juicy hop profile. Loaded with massive aromas of tropical fruits and citrus, and a silky murky body. Around for a very limited time! ($17.59 for a 4-pack of tall cans)
Dunham Cyclope IPA Theta: Dunham’s Cyclope series is an ever-changing beer with different hops in every incarnation. This one was done with experimental hop ADHA484 and Vic Secret. Citrus, herbal, and light tropical fruits all over the place, with a hazy and full but easy body. (sold out on our growler bar for the time being!)
Last Best Tokyo Drift: Hazy and fruity and bitter and all you could want. Tropical tones with huge citrus and a very “green” feel. A body full enough to stand up the onslaught of hops, and to keep things clean through the end. (Sold out on the growler bar for the time being. Please get a request into me if you want to see more!)
Outcast Neon Dream: Yet another take on the hazy IPA trend by Outcast. Big and mildly sweet, with huge tropical and citrus aromas. The exclusive use of lupulin powder gives monstrous aromatics along with a unique feel and bitterness. ($19.99 for a 4-pack of tall cans)
Oskar Blues Fugli: Fugli is a unique IPA featuring an infusion of Yuzu and Ugli fruits. A lighter style IPA with fruity mosaic hops on top of a distinct citrus zest, and mild to moderate dank green notes. $19.99 for a 6-pack of cans)
Melvin Drunken Master IIPA: Melvin comes back to the province with another big, dank IIPA. Drunken master is a generously malty double IPA with resinous pine notes, orange, tropical fruits, with a touch of alcohol heat on a big malty foundation. ($21.39 for a 4-pack of cans)
So this was a pretty stellar lineup. Upon posting to twitter, I had a few people drooling over it. Though each of these beers and brewers stands up on their own merit, I still love to see what the favourites are. The top three here were more or less already predicted by some. First place by a long shot was the Ultra Mosaika, and Blindman’s New England Pale was tied for second place with Last Best’s Tokyo Drift.
Like I said, that was more or less what was predicted, though the order could be changed (but not in my opinion). The unfortunate thing is that these beers aren’t all available all the time. Tokyo Drift graces my growler bar here and there, but the other two are seasonal and won’t be available come fall (the Ultra Mosaika is already gone!). Though there is always something tasty to try, so please just come and ask!
Before I go, I want to give thanks to The Peasant Cheese company for the tasty treats during the tasting, and to all my guests as well. It was truly a superb tasting!