Propeller IPA from The John Allen Brewing Company Limited in Halifax, Nova Scotia is a clear, golden colour with amber highlights. The off-white head leaves cascading lace and hangs on as a thin cap. This English IPA has a strong mineral presence in its aroma and whiffs of toasted grains, toffee, raisin, pine and mango.
A toffee flavour and one of dark roasted grain anchor the taste of Propeller IPA, accented by an earthy and bitter tone and brightened by notes of red berries and grass. The mouthfeel straddles a line between grainy and creamy. A sharp mineral tone comes through in the finish and transitions into a lemon oil flavour in the aftertaste.
Trois Pistoles from Unibroue in Chambly, Quebec pours a mostly opaque black with steely and crimson tinges when held up to light. The light tan coloured head is of ample size and stays around as a collar while leaving spotty lace behind. Sharp, fermented apple and grape notes permeate the smell of this Belgian strong dark ale, accented by plum, spice, banana and chocolate. The aromas are smooth, complex and inviting.
Trois Pistoles tastes of dark, ripened fruits and has a nice sour character. Plum, apple and grape are joined by a peppery and cinnamon-like spiciness. The ale has a solid, but unassertive malt backbone with a slight chocolate note. It is full-bodied with a low carbonation, but has a yeasty, fizzy pop on the tongue. Trois Pistoles is smooth, thick and rich throughout the finish and the aftertaste is mostly dry with a slight sour fruit flavour.
Boneshaker from Amsterdam Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario pours a hazy caramel-amber colour with light sediment suspended throughout the glass. A thick and frothy white head leaves thick lacing as it settles into a slim collar and cap. The aroma of this American IPA can best be described in two words: Boom! Hops! Thick tangerine, mango and pineapple tones are countered by a warm honey-caramel body and a sharp, piny bite.
The taste of Boneshaker certainly does not lack bitterness. Citrus fruit rind, lemongrass and raw grain flavours are strong and meaty and set against an equally sturdy and toasty caramel malt backing. The ale is full-bodied with a mild carbonation. The sediment creates a lot of life on the tongue before a viscose oiliness coats the back of the tongue and throat. The finish is bitter and a strong citrus tone remains throughout the aftertaste.
Augusta Ale from Kensington Brewing Company in the heart of Toronto, Ontario pours a slightly hazy golden-amber colour with a large and frothy white head that is slow to burn off, leaving a large collar in its wake, along with a healthy coating of lace. This American Pale Ale smells of toasted malts, caramel and freshly cut grains. A nice floral tone appears after warming.
The taste of Augusta Ale is very much in line with the aroma. It’s toasty and malty with a sweet caramel tone. There is a really solid bitter bite that carries a subtle grapefruit rind citrus character. The finish is dry and bitter. The ale is medium-bodied with a light carbonation level. A hearty, bread-like sensation is imparted on the tongue with a mild oiliness behind it. The aftertaste is grainy with a hint of chocolate.
Hops and Robbers from Double Trouble Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario pours a beautiful golden colour with amber tinges. Its large and frothy white head gets retained as a foamy collar and leaves minor lacing. The beer doesn’t smell like a typical Ontario brewed American IPA. It has more of a toasted grain character with citrus and berry tones in the background as well as hints of pineapple and banana after warming.
The taste of Hops and Robbers has a slightly sweet, toasted caramel malt character with subtle berry, grape and citrus notes, along with a nicely-balanced bitterness from dry-hopping. The beer is crisp on the front of the tongue then gives way to a sturdy bread-like sensation with a nice oiliness before finishing dry. The oily character remains in the aftertaste and the toasted character really lingers.