Double Mountain Pale Death Belgian-Style Imperial IPA

doublemountain_paledeathBrewer: Double Mountain, Hood River, OR
Style: Belgian-Style Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.3%
IBUs: 93

Description: This apocalyptic-themed ale features a combination that is growing in popularity of late – the fusion of Pacific Northwestern and Belgian-style ales. In this case, pale malt and a very generous dose of Northwestern hops co-mingle with strains of Ardennes yeast to create a beer that is very powerful, but strangely balanced.

Tasting Notes: I was a little wary of this beer to begin with. An Imperial IPA that embraces elements of an extra strong Belgian ale is sure to be powerful and potentially overwhelming, maybe to its own detriment. But I really like the way that Pacific Northwest hops (Cascade, Centennial and/or Columbus for sure) play well with Belgian flavors. You’ve got the citrusy and tropical fruit flavors of of a Northwestern IPA, which are nicely balanced by the spicy, citrusy flavor of Belgian yeast. And the strength, while considerable, doesn’t intrude on the flavor. Things finish smoothly and warmly!

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, citrus, passion fruit, pineapple, spicy yeast, coriander
Taste: Strong malt, citrus bite, grassy, piney, yeasty, orange peel, coriander, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering spice, yeast, alcoholic and hop bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

Four Winds IPA

FourWinds_IPABrewer: Four Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 70

Description: Part of Four Winds Standards lineup, this IPA is brewed in the tradition of Pacific Northwest American IPAs, combing a strong pale malt base with a generous dose of West Coast hops. This beer was also the silver medalist for the 2014 B.C. Beer Awards in the category of North American IPA.

Tasting Notes: I think we have another contender for Best IPAs. Not surprising, considering that Four Winds has consistently impressed me with their wares. And this one was certainly in keeping with that, being crisp, malty, citrusy, grassy, herbal and piney, and all the while remaining very drinkable and refreshing. It basically does everything an IPA should without being overstated or overwhelming.

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, strong notes of citrus, grass and herbal hops
Taste: Crisp malt, dry herbal notes, citrus, grass and piney hops
Aftertaste: Lingering citrus and herbal bitterness, quite refreshing
Overall: 9.5/10

Phillips Apteryx IPA

phillips_apteryxBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs:

Description: Phillips latest limited release, which is named in honor of the iconic Kiwi bird, is a tribute to New Zealand. As such, this India Pale Ale features a generous dosing of Nelson Sauvin hops, which are then added post-boil for a dry-hopped profile.

Tasting Notes: This Phillips release was definitely one I could get behind. The combination of strong pale malts, Nelson Sauvin hops, and the fact that it’s dry-hopped made for a very tasty, but also subtle and complex character. The malt base is strong but sweet, and the hop flavor comes through with notes of citrus, grass, pine, and grape – but at no point is it overwhelming.

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, strong notes of grape, hints of citrus, grass and pine
Taste: Strong malt, hint of sweetness, hop bitterness, herbal, grapes, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and pine
Overall: 8.5/10

Category 12 Insubordinate Session IPA

c12_insubordinateBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Session IPA
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 58

Description: In what is Category 12’s latest seasonal release, the Insubordinate is a sessional take on the Pacific Northwestern India Pale Ale. Crystal and Vienna malts provide the base, which is then bittered using Centennial and Columbus hops, along with an infusion of Zythos for some extra dry-hopping.

Tasting Notes: Given that this brewery is right here in my neighborhood, I was able to snag some bottles of this brew direct. And while sampling, I was even able to guess the hops used (well, it took a few guesses to get all three). In any case, this brew is a good addition after the powerhouse that was their Transmutation, employing a lighter malt base with a good hopping that employs both a bitter, citrus and tropical fruit start with a herbal, dry hop finish. An all around crisp and refreshing take on the Pacific Northwestern IPA.

Appearance: Amber/orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, tropical fruit nose, pineapple, passion fruit, herbal infusion
Taste: Crisp malt, citrus, pine, herbs, dry hop bitterness, mineral tang
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop bitterness, herbs, citrus rind, quite refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Mikkeler Single Hop Summit IPA

mikkeler_summitipaBrewer: Mikkeler Brewing, Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.9%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: Like all the beers in this phantom brewery’s Single Hop series, this beer is brewed at D’Proef in Belgium, using only pale malt and a single strain of American hops. In this case, the hop variety is Summit, a common hop used in barleywines, IPAs and Stouts that imparts a deep, earthy quality.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling of MIkkeler’s wares, and the second in their Single Hop IPA lineup. Overall, I was impressed. The use of Summit hops imparted an interesting mix of citrus, grass and earthiness to the brew. And it was well balanced with a good malt base that was smooth and just the slightest bit sharp. You could say this beer is defined by a strong, subtle, and complex character – one that is understated but gets the job done.

Appearance: Solid amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, subtle hints of citrus, tropical fruit, grassy
Taste: Slightly sharp malt, mild tang, earthy hops, mild notes of citrus, grass
Aftertaste: Lingering earthy, citrus and hop bitterness
Overall:8.2 /10

Peak Organic Hop Blanc

peak_hopblancBrewer: Peak Organic Brewing, Portland, ME
Style: White IPA
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description:  Fresh from Portland Maine comes this White IPA, part of Peak Organic’s regular lineup. It is brewed using local wheat and Belgian yeast, and then bittered using a combination of West Coast Centennial, Simcoe and Citra hops.

Tasting Notes: Yet another sampling from the Advent Beer Calendar, this White IPA was a fitting example of this resurgent style of beer. Wheat malt and Belgian yeast provide a smooth, refreshing base, with is then accompanied by notes of citrus and tropical fruit that pair nicely with the yeast’s spicy finish.

Appearance: Deep gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, coriander, orange, spice
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, yeast, orange zest and fruit, spicy finish
Aftertaste: Lingering orange zest, yeast bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

 

Phillips 3rd Blind Mouse Triple IPA

Phillips-Third-Blind-MouseBrewer: Phillips Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Triple India Pale Ale
ABV: 10.2%
IBUs: Unspecified (high)

Description: The latest Spring Seasonal from Phillips, this Triple IPA is aptly named and pretty straightforward. A strong malt base, and a good dose of West Coast hops provide a very strong, but balanced flavor profile that will appeal to hop heads and fans of their Hop Drop liqueur (noted for its powerful hop flavor and alcoholic strength!)

Tasting Notes: Seriously, I have to wonder what inspires Phillips with its limited-release creations! These guys obviously love high alcohol content, IPAs, and IBUs, and this beer delivers all three in spades! I was honestly reminded of their Hop Drop when drinking this, mainly because the potent combination of hops and alcohol was just too reminiscent of that lovely liqueur. Still, the combination manages to balance out quite nicely, making for a powerful, but relatively easy-going drinking experience.

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, strong hop nose, floral, tropical, passion fruit and herbs
Taste: Strong malt, potent hops, citrus, tropical fruit and dry herbs, bitter, alcoholic finish
Aftertaste: Lingering herbal hops bitterness, alcoholic bite
Overall: 7.8/10