There have been a lot of collaborations coming out of Alberta breweries recently and I couldn’t be happier. I became a fan of beer because of the social bonds that beer generates. You meet up with friends for a couple beers, you ask a girl out for a drink, and you go out for a couple cocktails with colleagues after work. Enjoying beer is a social endeavour and it is great to see that the local breweries are bringing their skills together to get beer drinkers together. Bench Creek Brewing, Blindman Brewing, and Troubled Monk Brewery came into the Alberta beer scene at the same time and they are some of the leaders of the craft beer movement that is happening in Alberta right now. The three breweries make some of the best beer in the province (Bench Creek’s Black Spruce Porter, Troubled Monk’s Open Road American Brown Ale, and Blindman’s Anniversary Ale are personal favourites) and they are continually coming up with new recipes that delight the tastebuds. When I heard that these three breweries were working together on a double IPA, I had to get some as soon as I could.
Aroma: There is a strong citrus nose that is followed up by pine and some floral hop bitterness. This being a double IPA, I was expecting a bitter scent to hit me as soon as I cracked the growler open, but it is the citrus that comes through more than anything else.
Appearance: The beer pours into an opaque, golden yellow that develops a nice head of tight, white bubbles. There is some nice lacing on the glass, which can be seen in the picture (I was so excited to get drinking this beer that I didn’t stop to take a picture before diving in).
Taste: When you take a few gulps of this beer you are confronted with citrus ester after mother-flippin’ ester. Grapefruit, orange, and tropical fruit are the frontrunners here. There is some nice bitterness on the finish, but not as bitter as I was expecting in a double IPA. This is a really nice drink that belies its deceptively high 8% ABV.
Feel: This is a medium-bodied beer that has a fair amount of carbonation, while being fairly smooth.
Overall: This beer is a definite winner. The true test of a beer is if you would drink it again, and I would always have bottles of this in the fridge to have at the ready – if it were sold in bottles. I want this beer there tucking me in at night. I want to share it with my friends and I want to bring it to get-togethers. It is flavourful, unique and represents what good brewers can do when they get together. I want more of these collaborations. They bring skills and ideas from across the province into one room and they end up pushing each other in new directions. And if this is the result of getting these three breweries together, I want all of them locked in a room cage-match-style until there is something new in the fermenters. This beer is a product of three breweries’ ingenuity and pedigree and I hope to see more crossovers between them – even if they’re forced.