Many months ago, I found myself endlessly sampling West Coast IPA’s. This was done partly out of a general sense of affection, but also out a desire to see just how many decent varieties we seem to produce here in the Pacific Northwest. As part of this research, I picked up not one, but two IPA’s produced right here in BC.
Established back in 2006 in Aldergrove BC, Dead Frog quickly expanded to feature its four original varieties: a lager, a honey lager, a pale ale, and a nut brown. Since then, they’ve expanded this repertoire to include a number of fruit beers and several signature brews. It seems appropriate then that of these two IPAs, one is a regular item while the other is part of an experimental lineup, which fall under the name of “Fusion Hopped”.
Dead Frog Citra IPA:
This beer is a relatively new installment in the Dead Frog lineup, and one which appears to be a permanent addition in the 650 ml series. Overall, I would say that this beer is an inspired example of a West Coast IPA, blending Citra, Cascade and Columbus hops with North American and European malts. What results is something typical of IPA’s, with strong, slightly sweet malts, a floral, bitter, and citrusy hop bite that contains distinct notes of grapefruit. And of course, it balances all this with a higher than normal alcohol content (6.5 % alc/vol). A good spring or summer beer for folks who are accustomed to stronger beers or just love the taste of hops.
Appearance: Golden amber, at the lighter range of IPAs
Nose: Highly floral and fruity, reminiscent of strong herbs and citrus fruits
Taste: Comes on with rich malts, giving way to a fruity burst of citrusy, bitter hops
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness and a touch of sweetness
Dead Frog Fusion Hopped IPA:
Here we have a specialty brew which appears to be part of a growing group of beers known as the “Brewmaster Series”. This series seems to revolve around the concept of specially hopped beers, given the nature of their releases so far. This includes the new “Fusion Hopped Pilsner” and of course the beer which I am reviewing here, the “Fusion Hopped IPA”. This specialty IPA combines dry hops and heavier malts with characteristics typical of an India Pale Ale. The end result is a dark, slightly heavy beer that’s accented by a big hop taste that contains discernible traces of dry hops and bitter grapefruit. In this way, it blends some of the best aspects of a dark ale with an ESB and an IPA.
Appearance: Darker, clear and transparent, light foam
Nose: Floral hop notes, notes of citrus and grapefruits
Taste: Heavier, sweet malts, giving way to a dry, bitter hop bite with notes of grapefruit
Aftertaste: Lingering floral taste and hop bitterness
For more info on Dead Frog’s signature beers and their regular lineup, check out http://www.deadfrog.ca/