Red Racer IPA: Takes the Checkered Flag

Red Racer IPA from the Central City Brewing Company in Surrey, British Columbia pours a clear, golden tinged copper-amber colour with a moderate, tan-coloured head that sticks around as a thin collar while leaving a light amount of fine lacing. This hop-laden American IPA has a very rich and bright aroma. It has lots of tropical fruit smells, like mango and pineapple, as well as grapefruit, pine and even a hint of cherry. Fresh grains, creamed honey and a nice lightly toasted wheat smell make up the backing.

Red Racer IPA
I Grab as Much of this Beer as I Can Every Time I See It

The taste of Red Racer IPA has a bread-like malt tone to start before a crisp grapefruit citrus taste punches the palate. A buttery caramel comes through on the tongue and the finish has an assertive, but under control bitterness. The beer has a fairly thin mouthfeel and a mild prickly sensation from the long lasting collar. It gets quite oily on the back of the tongue and a fruity tartness lingers in the aftertaste just enough to make you want another sip.

Nickel Brook Headstock IPA: The Freak Out Tent is That Way

Nickel Brook Headstock IPA from the Better Bitters Brewing Company in Burlington, Ontario pours a hazy, rusty amber colour with a medium-sized tan coloured head that is retained for a while as a frothy colour. There is spotty lacing and small grains of yeast sediment are visible. This American IPA has a thick, syrupy aroma with citrus and berry tones in the forefront and a sturdy caramel malt base with a pine accent and a subtle spicy note.

Nickel Brook Head Stock IPA
Go Ahead, Drink the Brown Stuff

The taste of Nickel Brook Headstock IPA is similar to the smell, with bright citrus and red berry tones taking the lead and backed by toasty, bready malts with a hint of caramel. There is a nice balance of sweetness in the taste and a solid bitterness in the finish. The ale is full-bodied with a relatively mild carbonation. It is very creamy on the tongue with a lingering oily sensation and flavours of lemon zest, pine and a peppery spice in the aftertaste.

Portage Ale: Canoe Pour Me One?

The flagship beer of the Mill Street Brewery Ottawa Brewpub is a cream ale that pours a slightly pale golden colour with a frothy white head that leaves a healthy amount of lace behind as it settles and gets retained as a thin, collared cap. Portage Ale smells mostly of sweet grains, wheat and yeast. There is a strong juice-like tone that hovers between raspberry, cherry and grape, and a slight hint of alcohol on the nose.

Portage Ale
This Cream Ale is Only Available in Ottawa

The taste of Portage Ale is rather sweet as well, with grains making up the bulk of the body. There is a strong grassy tone, a certain grape or apple juice-like flavour, as well as subtle milk chocolate and red berry notes. The ale is medium-bodied with a high carbonation level and is quite creamy on the tongue thanks to a distinct yeast character. The finish is dry and the aftertaste has lingering yeast and raw grain tones.

Hopyard Pale: Best of Both Worlds

Hopyard Pale from the Garrison Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia pours a really nice honey-amber colour with a sizable tan-coloured head that gets retained as a thick film with a collar, but leaves little lacing. This dry-hopped, West Coast-style American pale ale smells of sweet caramel, orange rind and wet flowers, with ripened cherry and black pepper coming through after it warms.

Hopyard Pale
The Only Knock I Have Against this Beer is Its Bottle

The taste of Hopyard Pale starts with an almost salty bitterness. A strong toasted brown bread tone comes through on the tongue and the beer has an unsweetened grapefruit juice flavour in the finish. It’s a bit thin in mouthfeel, but has a creaminess on the tongue thanks to the long-lasting collar and a medium-high carbonation level. The aftertaste is clean and very dry.

Southern Tier 2XIPA: Double Your Fun

This strong, American-style double IPA from the Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York pours a hazy golden-orange colour with a moderate-sized soapy head that gets retained as a collar and leaves a bit of lacing. 2XIPA has a very smooth aroma. It’s well-balanced citrus with a grapefruit tartness and tangerine sweetness, as well as a buttery tone and thick, biscuity malt backing. A piny alcohol tone comes through after warming, but it’s not intimidating.

Southern Tier 2XIPA
This Beer is Exceptionally Smooth for Its Style

2XIPA is also very smooth in taste, especially for the style. It has a syrupy, butterscotch sweetness at first. A maltiness takes on characteristics of dark rye and a bitter, almost sour grapefruit-like citrus kicks in at the end. The beer’s collar sticks around forever, contributing to a fairly thick and creamy mouthfeel. Its high ABV makes itself known in the finish with a warming sour bite before going dry on the back of the throat.