Thursday, 29 January 2015

Hop Bot IPA Hop City Brewing Company

#201 Hop Bot IPA

Hop City Brewing Company

Niagara, Ontario, Canada
Saint John, New Brunswick
Wholly Owned Craft Beer Subsidiary of Moosehead Breweries
India Pale Ale
7.1 % ABV 473 ml Aluminium Can 
$2.95 (Canadian) At LCBO 

Twitter: @HopCityBrewing

Ok, I confess... I bought this can because I love robots. I didn't even check the label before it went into my basket at the LCBO. I was home (for at least a day or two), before I realised this was a Hop City Beer. 

Hop City Brewing Company is the former Niagara Falls Brewing Company. In 2004 they were purchased by Moosehead Breweries and re-branded as their "Craft Beer Wing." It was not an unusual event this. Around the same time Molson... now MolsonCoors bought Creemore Springs Brewery, and Granville Island Brewery which became Six Pints the Craft arm of Molson in Canada. Sleemans... before they were purchased by Sapporo, bought Unibroue from Quebec, among others. The Macro breweries have known, for at least a decade now, that the craft beer revolution was coming, and they wanted a piece of it. It was easy to see, because it started in the USA in the 1980's and was slowly working it's way North. That aside, Moosehead is the "last brewer standing" so to speak. It is the oldest continuously operating fully Canadian brewery left. (Molson is half American now, Labatt is owned by the Dutch, and Sleeman is now Japanese).

Hop City tries very hard. They have a tough row to hoe. They have large corporate expectations, small craft brew ideas, and a large audience that is unsure if they like craft beer or not. I will not lie, I used to drink their product "Barking Squirrel" a lot. (It was convenient and available at my local). It was not a horrible product, but I found it to be inconsistent in flavour. That being said, I am eager to try some of their other beers.

Everybody do the robot...

Pours a slight orange colour with a hint of cloudiness. the fluffy off-white head is made up of small to medium bubbles and is short lived. The aroma is fresh green herbs with a good strong grapefruit scent followed lightly by passion fruit and the barest hint of pine. First sip is malt forward followed by more grapefruit, orange, and guava. Bitter herbs and some pine come through for the finish which is light and clean with some black tea at the very end. The overall body of the beer is very light despite its 7.1 5 alcohol, and the mouthfeel is a little watery. The finish is a re-iteration of the malt with a touch of caramel, Aeration brings out a little extra bitterness from the hops.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 

Cost: 4/6 PASS
Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 4/6 PASS
Re-Order:  4/6 PASS
Experience:  4/6 PASS

Final Thoughts:
Lovely colour, and a great aroma. However, I found it too lacking in the body department for an IPA. While the malt forward notes at the beginning made me think West coast Pale ale, they had no staying power and fell flat. The nose promised me a Fruit-Bomb IPA (a style which I am really coming to love BTW), but it also had no staying power. Sadly I think this is a beer lost between two styles, and neither the twain shall meet. Would I drink it again? Of course, it is worlds better than many beers out there, but it the flavour profile just sits a little off on me. Get out there and try it for yourself and tell me what you think.


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