It's nice to see new offerings from the greater-Ottawa area's largest craft brewery. They are always experimenting, always trying something new. Yet, I find it hard to keep up with all of the brews that they put out. If I drank every new beer from the Vankleek Hill brewery, I doubt I would have time to try all the beer by all the other breweries, Beer O'Clock would become Beau's O'Clock.
I'm sure that the brewery would be fine with that, as long as I gave glowing reviews of everything I drank. But I don't like everything they brew, although I find that I like the majority of what hits the LCBO shelves or the taps around town.
I'm not, of course, going to be able to review every Beau's beer, and with this bottle, I'm not sure that I am reviewing Beau's, anyway.
When I brought those two bottles home, I set them down in my cellar, next to the other Beau's bottles on my wine rack that now holds more beer than wine. It wasn't until I opened one of the bottles, poured it into my Beau's glass, began sipping it, and making notes, that I actually read the label.
And saw that there were two words below Gigantic: Brewing and Company. I try not to read any information that is written on a label or on any card that accompanies the bottle, because I don't want any tasting notes to interfere with my own.
I found that this beer was brewed by a Portland, Oregon, brewery. What a coincidence that they share a similar packaging to Beau's, I thought. And then I saw something on the label that got me scratching my head again: this beer was brewed in Vankleek Hill—the home of Beau's.
I had to finish my tasting notes before I delved further. So let's find out what went on, together, shall we?
La Formidable American Belgo IPA (6.9% ABV)Appearance: not-quite-clear, amber-orange with an effervescence of steady, tiny pearls, and an off-white head that maintains a healthy cap.
Gigantic Brewing Company, Portland OR
Brewed in Vankleek Hill ON
Nose: orange citrus with hints of pine—almost as though you were standing in an Oregon forest. There's a wet earthiness about it.
Palate: pine resin and grapefruit, bitter hops, and an orange-rind finish.
Overall impression: I really like this beer and, if not for the formidable alcohol content (see what I did there?), I could drink this all afternoon. This is definitely something that I would enjoy on a hot day, under a shaded patio.
La Formidable is brewed under Beau's B-Side label, in which they share capacity with international brewers. Gigantic Brewing's brewmasters, Ben Love and Van Having, brought their recipe and brewed a batch of this delicious brew in Vankleek Hill, and the marketing folks from Beau's packaged it up and brought it to Ontario beer lovers.
La Formidable is... well... formidable!
Gigantic's brew is the second ale to run under the B-Side label. The first beer, Kissmeyer Beer's Nordic Pale Ale, was a tasty offering that I tried more than a year ago, but was also fooled into thinking that it was strictly a Beau's creation.
Maybe different bottles would help?
So, I accomplished two things in this tasting: I tried another brew that came out of Beau's brew house and I tried a beer from another brewery. I call that a win-win situation.
I don't know how long La Formidable is going to stay on store shelves, but stock up while you can.
Beer O'Clock rating: 4