The Season of IPA’s, Cont’d

wash_breweriesSpring, or as I’ve come to think of it, the season of the India Pale Ale, continues with more samples procured from my faithful local purveyors! And since I’m apparently taking on more new beers than I can review at any one time, I’ve decided to do another two-fer today, acknowledging two distinct examples of brewing excellence. And though they come from vastly different places, one the very farthest outpost on the West Coast (Tofino), and the other nestled in the very heart of Cascadia (Eugene, Oregon), I found them very similar in style, taste, and their dedication to Pacific Northwestern brewing.

Tofino Hoppin Cretin’ IPA:
hoppin_cretin3First up, a long-awaited second helping from the Tofino Brewery, which I got a chance to sample well over a year ago during my wife and I’s summer visit. Unfortunately, I only ever got to try their Tuff Session, and lamented that we couldn’t stick around long enough to do a little brewery tour. I tell ya, its about time Tofino had its own brewery, and one that bore its name proudly!

And I was quite impressed with this installment in their lineup. Boasted strong malts, a variety of hops (and plenty of them), and a solid alcohol content (7.5% alc/vol), it’s got pretty everything you’d expect from a good India Pale Ale. But there’s still room for pleasant surprises, like how the hop profile is well balanced between tropical, piney and citrus flavors.

Appearance: Deep amber, cloudy, good carbonation and foam retention
Nose: Notes of tropical fruit, pineapple, pine and a hint of citrus
Taste: Strong burst of citrus, followed by strong, slightly coarse malts
Aftertaste: Dry finish, lingering bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA:
Tricerahops-Double-IPA-A-20073PNext up is another faithful addition from the Ninkasi brewery, which once again impressed the hell out of me with their Tricerahops (very punny!) IPA. Much like their standard IPA, it combined a good dose of tropical hop aroma with citrus and pine. This also came through in the flavor, which was varied and very powerful, especially when combined with the high gravity malts, semi-sweet, viscous malts.

This is the result of multiple varieties of malt and hops – which in the former case include Pale, Munich and Carahell, and in the latter Summit, Amarillo, Centennial, and Palisade – and a hefty dose thereof. Overall, this beer rates at a hefty 100 IBUs, a Starting Gravity of 1080, and an alcohol content of 8.8% alc/vol.

Appearance: Golden-amber, transparent, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Floral hops scent, tropical fruit, pine, citrus
Taste: Strong hop burst, immediate citrus bite, giving way to semi-sweet malts
Aftertaste: Malt coarseness, lingering bitterness
Overall: 9/10

New Beers

Some new samples from back in September 2011. Another Big Flavor beer and a session ale from the new brewery that opened up in Tofino. Wishing it and the Lighthouse signature line many happy returns!

You know, I’ve noticed that I tend to take my time between posting new reviews. Luckily, that means I have time to sample more than one new beer or restaurant, which ensures a bigger and more varied entry once I do get around to posting! So here’s what I had an opportunity to try as of late:

Uncharted Belgian IPA: This is the latest installment in the Big Flavor series from Lighthouse Brewery. Much like its predecessors, its a strong beer, combining some powerful hops with a strong, lingering aftertaste. The name refers to the two yeast strains that were used in making it; a Belgian Abbey style and a West Coast style yeast. The result is decidedly West Coast in flavor, being crisp, hoppy and with a strong citrus profile that is reminiscent of grapefruit. At 7.5% alc/vol, its a little lighter than either the Shipwrecked or Doppelbock, which I approve of. While I do enjoy a good triple fermented beer or a doppelbock, the heavies can be a bit daunting! 4/5

Tuff Session Ale: When I first heard there was a brewery in Tofino, I was pretty psyched! So far, I only got to try their session, and can’t find a store locally that holds it. But, its only a matter of time… Anyhoo, this ale is a faithful version of a session, being mild in flavor with a nice, dry finish. Fans of bitter would be advised to check this one out, it is a fitting example of a real British ale. 4/5

Well, that’s about it for now. Stay tuned for a review of SoBo’s! Tonifo’s premiere restaurant specializing in Sophisticated Bohemian cuisine! SoBo’s, get it?

P.S.: Here’s the link to Tofino’s new upstart. From what little I’ve seen, they do good work, and are in a great position to serve real beer to plenty of thirsty travellers!
Tofino Brewing Company