Hop Circle IPA: Is Such a Thing Even Possible? Yes It Is!

Hop Circle IPA from Phillips Brewing Company in Victoria, British Columbia is golden yellow in colour and has a slightly wavy look to it with a moderate off-white head that remains as a thin but persistent collar through the glass and leaves a thick frosting of lace behind. This American IPA smells of grains, grapefruit, pineapple, mango and strawberry, with a distinct sun-dried tomato note.

Hop Circle IPA
All the Good UFO and Alien Puns are on the Sleeve

The taste of Hop Circle IPA tastes of toasted grains, umami (sundried tomato and salt), lemon oil, grapefruit, light caramel and black tea. A salty bitterness hits sharply on the tongue and lingers between sips along with a mildly earthy aftertaste. The ale has a medium body, low carbonation, a subtle tingle of yeast and is rather oily, particularly in the finish.

Hop Head IPA: Strikes a Balance

Hop Head IPA from the Tree Brewing Company in Kelowna, British Columbia pours a hazy, rusty amber colour with a sizable and frothy off-white head that settles quickly as a collared film while leaving a generous amount of lace. The aroma of this American IPA is not what I was expecting and a bit muted overall. Lightly caramelized malts have a fresh, grainy backing with a semi-sweet floral tone and a subtle hint of lemon oil and alcohol.

Hop Head IPA
This Well-Balanced IPA Quickly Became a Regular Pickup

Hop Head IPA surprisingly tastes like toasted, chocolate malts up front. A light buttery tone gives way to an earth-like taste and a fairly strong bitterness that really lingers, but remains in control. Again, a hint of lemon or orange oil pokes through in the finish. I find it very well-balanced compared to most of its contemporaries. The beer is rather light-bodied with a medium-heavy carbonation that really pops on the tongue and a distinct oily quality that smooths over the bitterness in the aftertaste and adds to its drinkability.

Pugnacious Pale Ale: Has a Mean Left Hook

Pugnacious Pale Ale from Grand River Brewing in Cambridge, Ontario pours a nice honey-amber colour with a frothy white head that settles as a thick film while leaving a moderate amount of lace. This American pale ale smells of thick, caramel-sweetened malts, freshwater and buttered popcorn. A dark fruit tone, like plums, comes through as it warms.

Pugnacious Pale Ale
Other Beers have had to Fight for Fridge Space Lately

The taste of Pugnacious Pale Ale is very malt-forward. A buttered, heavy bread taste gives way to a brewed tea note and crisp and bitter finish with a hint of lemon zest. The beer has a fairly heavy mouthfeel with a medium carbonation that’s prickly on the tongue and a mostly clean aftertaste with a slight yeasty tone.