Garrison Imperial India Pale Ale

Wow. This is an absolute treat. I don’t think I have ever had a beer that has as much bitter complexity. This one really is quite intense, the name imperial is definitely appropriate. There are so many layers of hops that I am not really sure what to do with myself after each sip. I am very surprised by this ale.

The Garrison brewery is found in Halifax Nova Scotia, and is the only beer that I have ever tried from this province. I am sure that there are other artisan breweries that are amazing, but clearly this facility made a name for itself with this particular beer. It is unfiltered and very cloudy, with a wide red-orange color and long-lasting foamy head. The bitterness of the hops that is used is quite evident in pretty much any beer, but this one takes the cake. The initial hop flavor is sharp and extremely bitter, but fades quickly to a numbing citrus like aftertaste. It is at the level where any more hop flavor would be overwhelming and completely dilute the flavor of the sweet caramel malt.

The alcohol percentage is 7%, so you certainly get quite a bang from this 500ml bad-boy. Good work Nova Scotia, keep up the excellent work. I don’t really have anything bad to say about this beer, except that even after a few sips it makes you violently hungry*. Garrison’s Imperial India Pale Ale is solid, and certainly worth a try. I would get this again, no questions asked. Every once and a while I feel like being overwhelmed with robust flavor. The last sip is also a gritty one… full of all that delicious sediment that is left in there on purpose (I think) after the bottling process for the beer to continue to absorb flavor and gain character over time.

* The bitterness found in Hops, like most bitter plant compounds, stimulates the production of saliva and stomach acid. Thus, it prepares your body for a hearty meal. Drinking or eating something bitter without following with some sort of substantial food leaves your digestive tract at risk of harming itself from it’s own beneficial secretions. So, if you are drinking and feel hungry, eat something! I made home-made sweet potato fries to go along with this beer, and this was a flavor marriage made in heaven.

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2 Responses

  1. I suggest some battered and fried fish and/or a burger to go along with those chips. Sounds like a good beer, its on my radar. I think I’ve seen this one but have passed on it.

    Its 7% eh? I’m thinking if this beer is aged for a bit the hop bitterness will mellow some and the sweet caramel malt flavour will become more dry. A little bit of bottle conditioning and it sounds like it would be a good one. But then again, who has time wait..

  2. Ah yes, sounds delicious.

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