A few weeks back I asked one of the most knowledgeable local craft beer guys to do a review of Central City’s newest release to the market. Here is Ian’s review completely unedited. – Rod Phillips
When talking to brewers, in the limited extent that I do, I find that they fall into two categories. They are either very brief or they love to talk. It seems Mr. Lohin likes brevity; perhaps he is just short with me. This does signal a big day for beer geeks in BC. Central City has announced that they will produce a limited release line of 650ml bombers. The first is their Imperial IPA followed closely by two versions of Thor’s Hammer barley wine (bottle conditioned and bourbon-barrel aged). Both brews have wracked up an impressive amount of awards.
This new line will not sport the famous Red Racer name. “We will not be calling it Red Racer as we may start another brand in the future for high ABV beers,” Gary explains. Big IPA indeed: it clocks in at 9.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. These IBUs are real; Gary says they were measured in a lab.
The next question all beer geeks want to ask is, “What hops were used?” Mr. Lohin was a tad vague with his answer. There was only one “C’ hop used but also features an “A”, “S” and a “M” hop. He wouldn’t drop names, but leaves us to speculate. Gary describes the taste as, “a big floral aroma with mango, tangerine, and citrus notes, followed by a long lingering finish.”
Central City Imperial IPA = 9/10
The pungent hop aromas are apparent intermediately after the bottle opener does its thing. The nose is very sweet with tropical fruits (mangoes and papaya) and grapefruit rind. Each sip is full and griping with hop bitterness; this is enhanced by a pleasant alcohol warmth. The Central City is quite sweet for an Imperial IPA. Hopheads will delight in the abundance of mangoes, flower essence, guavas, oranges and grapefruit rind. The hops blast begins upfront, last all the way through the sip and lingers for an eternity. Malts are rich, but play a secondary role. A whole wheat bread and nutty malt backbone is but an afterthought. Pair this hoppy brew with a spicy Indian dish for added palate satisfaction. Not into spicy foods? Perhaps a grilled salmon steak topped with a creamy peppercorn sauce would be more to your liking? Myself, I went with a spicy Mexican enchiladas.
Alcohol Content +1 9.5% frighteningly drinkable
Appearance +1 Simple, elegant label with good description of flavour
Post Script - I like a lot of what Ian has to say here. It is fresh, straightforward and hits on some topics not usually touched on such as why a new brand. You can follow Ian on Twitter @left4beer and on his blog http://www.left4beer.com/
As for Bang for the Buck I think this brew has nailed it. In relation to the other ways you could spend $10 on Craft Beer there are not many that would provide the same value 9.35/$1 – Rod Phillips