Happy IPA Day! Today is the day where beer drinkers around the world raise their glass to one of the most iconic styles of beer -India Pale Ale. While there aren't any #IPAday themed events happening in Ottawa there are plenty of pubs selling IPAs that were brewed close to home.
To celebrate, we asked brewers in the Ottawa-area which IPA is their favourite and why:
Andrew Bartle: Great question. My favourite IPA has to be Bell's Two Hearted Ale brewed in Kalamazoo, MI. It was the first IPA that really made me say "Wow" and generally still does to this day. I'm a huge fan of IPA's that use Centennial hops as they are so full of citrus, all of that grapefruit and loads of pine. I love that aroma especially when balanced with a beer with a lot of body. Even really bitter beers need a little balance.
For Canadian IPA's I have a soft spot for Amsterdam's Boneshaker. This is another fantastic beer with a lot of body, but the hops are so powerful. I generally find Amarillo hops to be more floral than some other American varieties but, they really have this aroma and flavour of really juicy tangerines. There are a lot of complex malts in there but, it doesn't taste complicated. It really has what I look for in a great IPA. It's aroma is powerful: It's floral, citrusy, I can sense there is a malt backbone. There has to be mouthfeel and body to the beer. The flavour has to be juicy like biting into tangerines, grapefruits, and oranges. IPA's can be extremely bitter and still really drinkable.
Matthew O'Hara: I agree with Bartle in regards to Bell's. A true classic.
I also think Le Castor from Rigaud is currently doing a bang-up job with theirs; emphasizing zesty citrus ( grapefruit) aroma over sheer hop bitterness.
I also like Heady Topper from Alchemist in Waterbury, Vt. This double IPA is a beast that sips beautifully at 8% ABV and 120 IBU. Here again, the balance is key whereby the bitterness is checked by malt and fruity esters. The aroma that exhibits typical but noteworthy depth of American hop varieties is front and centre.
Josh Larocque: I would have to say that it's the Double Overhead IPA from Maui Brewing
Co. (although, technically it's a double IPA!) At first sip I loved it,
but thought it might have been the vacation sun influencing my
tastebuds when I tried it at their brew pub in Maui. I bought a growler
and very carefully packed it - taking up about 25% of my luggage space!
Once back at the brewery I cracked it open for the guys to try and it
was received fairly well, although being a double IPA it was a bit much
for them to handle. Over the span of the next week, I drank it
regularly in 4oz sample glass servings and enjoyed each serving like it
was the first.
Description from RateBeer.com:
"Double Overhead IPA is a fresh handcrafted double IPA featuring copious amounts of hops. Laden with hops from begining to end and not overly bitter, it's hop aromas and flavours give hints of Guava, Passion Fruit, and orange spice which blend well with the silky malt flavours. 'Big braddah to the Big Swell IPA' 60+IBU'S"
The flavour description nails it perfectly (I love that style of hop flavour, similar to what we go for in our Wildcard Ale.) What I liked best about it though, was that silky malt mouthfeel which I found to balance the drying hop bitterness nicely.
Why? cause they are great and I love IPAs! I'm bad at giving description on beers ;-)
Patrick Fiori: My favorite IPA is Church Key's West Coast IPA. It is a beautiful balance between a crisp citrus hop and a full body with just the right amount of sweetness. It is a bit of an anomaly I usually enjoy british IPA's like ours more.
JP Fournier: Mad Tom by Muskoka.
Don Harms: I would have to say, that is was the Wuchak Polaris, that we made in mid-Spring. Because we made a one variety hop IPA, and we worked with both the hop farmer and hop company in Germany. It turned out to be a very pleasing, balanced IPA while still exciting the hopheads!!
Justin Murray: Fave IPA: Muskoka's Mad Tom IPA
So aside from growing up in the Muskokas, drinking a Mad Tom is like an angry guy named Tom filling a malt sack with tropical fruit and hop flowers, smashing you in the face with it, then gently sprinkling you with citrus blossoms. In a good way. But in all seriousness, we love it for its punchy hops without being unpalatably astringent, and its rich malty backbone to balance it out. Deliciously aromatic and clean as a whistle.
Lon Ladell: Being a west coaster anytime I get a taste from home is good time - Phillips Hop circle.
We are releasing our Double Hop IPA today. With 110 IBU we put a mix of Amarillo and Galaxy in 9 hop additions to make this beuty.
Thank you to all of the brewers who took the time to answer our question!
Which IPA will you be celebrating IPA Day with?