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.
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.
Dubbed “The Original Export”, Old Empire IPA from Marston’s Beer Company in Burton Upon Trent, UK pours a bright golden-amber colour with a frothy white head that doesn’t last very long, but holds on as a collar and paper thin film.
Because it’s packaged in clear bottles, Old Empire IPA can smell a bit skunky at first when exported; it’s best to let it breathe a few minutes. The beer has a bready malt aroma with hops, brewed tea and lemon accents coming through as it warms.
Old Empire IPA tastes of toasted malts and honey. A butterscotch tone is countered by a strong dryness that has a grassy or floral tone to it. The beer is noticeably carbonated, but creamy and slightly yeasty as well. There is a wood character to the finish that has a slight smokiness.
Brutal IPA from Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon pours a hazy, rusty caramel colour reminiscent of many double IPAs twice its strength, with an abundant tan head that leaves a fair amount of lace behind before settling as a collar. This ESB-cum-IPA has more of a sweet, fruity aroma than a typical American IPA; like cherries in syrup with a thick, bready maltiness and a tangerine peel citrus note.
Brutal IPA is strongly bitter up front, but with a well-balanced honey-like malted sweetness. There is a faint citrus tang that gives it a bit of pop before going back to bitter. Unassuming, subtle and solid. The beer is fairly thick and heavy on the tongue like yeast at first. A medium carbonation eases it down and somehow it seems to get even more bitter in the aftertaste, but remains tame enough to prevent puckering or dry cheeks.
Northumberland Ale from the Church-Key Brewing Company in Campbellford, Ontario pours a nice deep golden-amber colour. A moderate frothy head settles as a thick film and there is a fair amount of visible carbonation. It has a sweet, toasted malt aroma with a honey-like tone, a sort of earthy character and a freshwater note to it. Slightly faint overall, but it smells quite fresh.
Northumberland Ale is rather light in the taste department. This stock-style ale modeled after those popular in Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Quebec in the 1940-50s is quite dry at first before sweetened toasted malt comes through on the tongue. It could definitely use a bit more character, but there’s nothing offensive in there. The mouthfeel is on the thin side, but very crisp and extremely easy-drinking. There’s a slightly malty, resin-like taste and feeling on the finish.
This American-style IPA from the Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Ontario pours a deep golden colour with a generous, soapy white head that burns off quickly, but leaves some nice lacing and settles as a thick film. Mad Tom IPA smells of fresh hops with a big, bright grapefruit and orange peel citrus tone. It has a sweet, butterscotch malt backing, but one that really lets the hops come through and it picks up a sort of soapy note as it warms.
The taste of Mad Tom IPA is also very well-balanced. A crisp citrus flavour is backed by a honey-sweetened buttery tone, a solid malt body and the beer has a nice bitterness on the finish. Mad Tom IPA is very easy-drinking and masks its ABV well. It’s medium-bodied with a decent prickly carbonation on the tongue and is crisp on the back of the tongue and throat.