Finally BBQ time! Mad and Noisy Brewing Hops & Bolts India Pale Lager…


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Only a Canadian can describe a geographic location such as, if you live in the NHL’s Eastern Division part of the world, then you’ll agree that beautiful, warm sunny days are not in a hurry to show face this year. At this rate, the play-offs will be over before one can enjoy a shirtless day in the warm sun. Now it is true that 12ºC in springtime feels warmer than 15ºC in the fall but let’s face it, I long for my full 25ºC + temperatures to kick in.

Yesterday, for the first time this year, my wife and I cranked up the BBQ and prepared a delicious meal; Pizzas on the grill and my very own Grilled Roman Sausage Salad (click here for the recipe).

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The beer of choice for this evening is Mad and Noisy Hops & Bolts India Pale Lager. Wait, stop, full disclosure here; I am not as big a fan of lagers as I am of ales. There, I said it. Like many beer aficionados, I got in to the whole craft beer trend through IPAs, so they hold a special place in my heart. When I am not enjoying a stout, I like my beers hoppy and citrusy. There is a lot to be said about India Pale Lagers (IPL), some contradictory, some not. A beer style that hasn’t yet been qualified, accepted and perhaps a bit of a black sheep by definition but thing is, in today’s brewing world, who cares all that much anymore about doing things by the book. While I may not be a great advocate of lagers, I do respect initiatives and certainly enjoy seeing brewers not only think outside the box and stop recognizing the box, kudos for that. The fact that an IPA is best brewed with ale hops and that many IPL tend to see their finishing touch using lager hops doesn’t bug me so much. If it bugged me, than California commons / Steams would bug me and that would be a huge mistake. Look, I’m a sucker for words and definitions and what bugs me here is the “India” mention in India Pale Lagers but that’s me being anal. We can all agree that lagers were never intended for export to India nor is it happening today. Fair is fair, good old American IPAs aren’t brewed for export to India either but most are brewed the same way as traditional IPAs but as for lagers well, there is no such thing as a traditional Lager brewed for India export.

I suppose IPLs should be called “India Pale Ale Style Lagers” but I am not suggesting that such terminology begins to be used.

So where does this leave me, it leaves me grilling fantastic food on my BBQ enjoying an IPL that quite frankly for a non-advocate of lagers, tastes good and at the end of the days, why should anyone care so much about terminology and “the book” when beer is being redefined everyday and becoming more and more enjoyable. Just brew something fantastic and we’ll drink it, call it India Pale Stout Steam Bock for all I care.

Look:  Hops and Bolts pours a beautiful red that is slightly cloudy with limited head.

Smell:  The smell is fantastic. It has all the qualities of IPA hops. The only thing missing is a healthy dosage of citrus. Instead, apple pie, cinnamon, and caramel malts give a full nose and make you eager for the first sip.

Taste: The first sip is that of an IPA but I think it’s the power of suggestion because the lager part kicked in right away and never gave up, for me, anyways. It has a delicious caramel aspect to it and the malts and grain are at times wrapped up in hops but on the most part, by the 6th or 10th sip, there is nothing IP left.

Finish: The beer becomes slightly bitter and began to taste more like cold vegetable broth, water in which veggies had been boiled. Ouch, I know. I enjoyed most of it, but it lost me towards the end. Bitterness lingered on and the last sip was so not to waste it.

Context: Well, what’s the bench mark? I don’t have one but I am determined to revisit this review after I’ve tasted more IPLs. Until then the only thing I can say is that it smelled and initially tasted like an IPA and quickly enough turned to a lager. So well done, I guess.

Repeater: I don’t know… But that’s just me.

Pairing: Salads, burgers, grilled meats

Score: 78%

Price: $2.85

Availability: Year-round 

Beer type: IPL

Alcohol/Vol.: 5.3%

Brewery: Creemore Springs Brewery (Mad and Noisy is a “mad lab” of CSB)

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