My buddy John who had been transferred to Halifax is back and so we had a bbq with him and his family, which meant a chance to try out some new beers. On the way from our old house to their place takes us right by the LCBO – the liquor store in Ontario, the place where one generally finds craft beers – on March Road (), which generally has a great selection of beers.
First up was Collective Arts State of Mind. State of Mind is a session IPA, and Collective Arts Rhyme & Reason extra pale ale had been a favourite of mine as I was transitioning into hoppy beers. State of Mind is very much like I remember Rhyme & Reason, hints of citrus with just a touch of hops. Very refreshing and great character.
I really wanted to like Whiprsnapr Root of Evil. Whiprsnapr is right around the corner from my old house. Unfortunately, although the smokiness of this “pre-prohibition lager” was interesting, the beer itself was overwhelming. It may have been a problem of having it after State of Mind with nothing to cleanse my palate, but Root of Evil didn’t do much for me.
Beyond the Pale’s Pale Ale Project was the winner of the day. This American-style pale ale had everything that made State of Mind enjoyable, but with an even better balance and smoothness. Again, this may have been because of my disappointment with Root of Evil, but when this hit my tastebuds, my eyes opened a bit wider and I had to smile. Very satisfying.
Barnstormer Flight Delay IPA was a fair enough IPA, but given how many I’ve had, and the quality of my three present favourites (Mad Tom, Red Racer, and Headstock) it’s up against tough competition. It was fine, more like Boneshaker than Mad Tom, but wasn’t particularly distinctive.
And the final was Northwinds Rainmaker, which I had the pleasure of trying at the Northwinds Brewhouse in Collingwood, Ontario. Rainmaker is certainly enjoyable, but also has that touch of pine I taste in Boneshaker. It was a good IPA, but doesn’t break through my top three favourite IPAs.
But I will say that Northwinds Three Stroke extra pale ale is up there against Red Racer ISA and Naughty Neighbour as an excellent, enjoyable pale ale if one is not in the mood for something strong like an IPA.
Of the day’s drinking, I would recommend Pale Ale Project (which may no longer be available) and State of Mind. Both of them were really refreshing and enjoyable. Although summer is coming to an end, these are both outstanding bbq beers.