What the heck is an IPA anyways? And what happens when a beer is a double IPA?
For those new to trying different styles of beer it can be overwhelming to sip on an India Pale Ale (IPA – thanks to the keen reader who pointed out my initial mistake of stating it was Imperial Pale Ale). First because they tend to be a bit stronger than a lager or pilsner (unless you get into a session IPA). Second, the taste. It was not something I would grab when I first started getting into craft beer (think bitter beer face), but now it is the style I am most drawn too.
Ok, I realize that I’m not doing a great job of selling you on the IPA-goodness so I sat with Ross Thompson, brewmaster at Cannery Brewing Company, fresh off canning their limited release beer into four-packs of 473 ml cans and enjoyed a taster of the Dualis Double IPA to give you the good straight from the horse’s mouth.
“Hops are weird because it seems you can never convince people who don’t like it to give it another try. I always relate it to spicy food. So if you are not a spicy food person but you have some really good, flavourful spicy food and you eat it frequently before you know it, you eat something like a hamburger and you are wishing it has Siracha on it. It is the same with beer, you get to the point where yeah, you really like this pilsner but if it was dry-hopped I might like it a little more,” said Thompson.
Dualis is described as a combination of galaxy (fruit forward) and simcoe (more pine and resin) hops and is punchy and crisp. The beer pours a light copper colour and delivers as it is described — a classic IPA taste. The beer was originally released in a very small test batch, available just in their taproom, and Thompson said it was gone in a matter of an hour.
“I have been here 10 years now and people just don’t drink that kind of beer in Penticton, but that is changing now so that inspired us,” said Thompson. “We try and play it safe but we like balance, things that are drinkable. Even though it is a double IPA, so very hoppy and 8.5 per cent, it still is very drinkable.”
IPAs are defined by their level of hops (which there are hundreds of varieties) and a level of bitterness. It is measured in International Bittering Units and anything over 40 starts to be called an IPA. A double IPA is even higher than that. The Dualis sits at about 80, but has a lot of sweetness with the residual sugar, so it balances it out.
The Cannery created 70 flats, so about 1,000 litres, and the rest was for pouring in their taproom. You can still find it on their taps and in select stores.
The beautifully designed label was created by Skyler Punnett, whose client list include Sony Entertainment, Microsoft, Nokia and others. Thompson, who started his brewing career at the Cannery after pestering the owners for a job and worked his way up to part-owner, was the lead on creating the Dualis.
Thompson said expect a few more limited release beers this summer season, including the return of the New England IPA Hop Chowdah which landed in their tap room recently! The last one in the series will be a rice-ale, high alcohol at seven per cent and very hop forward as well.
Disclosure: this beer was given to me complimentary, but my opinions are unfiltered.
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