If my expectations aren't met, I can get a bit surly. You might even say I act like a curmudgeon.
Take the IPA by Cambridge, Ontario, brewery, Grand River. The label drew my eye to it as I shopped the shelves at the LCBO. The name amused me and, as IPAs are among my favourite ales, I picked up a couple of bottles.
With an IPA, I expect some bitterness, nice, aromatic hops, some grapefruit or other citrus flavours, a full body, and a clean but bitter finish. Not too bitter, mind you, unless the bitterness is balanced with other flavours.
Let's see how this ale did.
Curmudgeon IPA (6.5% ABV)Appearance: a clear, deep amber with an off-white head that quickly settles to a thin but solid cap.
Grand River Brewing
Nose: bitter hops and a touch of caramel.
Palate: my initial impression was that I had bitten into an orange peel--lots of bitterness but not the best part of citrus fruit. The flavours balance in the finish but I would have liked to have felt that balance while the ale was still in my mouth. The alcohol is apparent but not overpowering: it lingers, however, in the finish.
As I continued to drink the IPA, the bitterness turned sour, and my appreciation for the ale waned.
Overall impression: this is a good beer but I felt the emphasis was placed on bitterness and booze, rather than an overall balanced flavour. With the vast number of great IPAs out there, I thing I would give this one a pass the next time I saw it on the shelf.
It simply didn't live up to my expectations.
Beer O'Clock rating: 2
Though this IPA left me feeling somewhat curmudgeony, I would still be interested in trying more beer from Grand River. I have already reviewed their Imperial stout (I didn't like) and their pumpkin ale (I liked), so I hope I can find something else to please my palate.