Beer: Big Rock IPA
Brewery: Big Rock Brewery (Calgary, Alberta)
Style: English India Pale Ale
Alcohol: 5.5% ABV
My new home is incredibly connected to the economy of the Province of Alberta, so it was of little surprise that much of the craft beer that does make it into the Northwest Territories is from the province that is home to such wonders as the Calgary Stampede and West Edmonton Mall.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to try a few of the Big Rock brands, and they have generally made a favourable impression, but I haven’t yet reviewed anything from the brewery. Expect this review of Big Rock IPA will be the first of several reviews of Big Rock beers.
Giving the 341mL an aggressive pour brings about a thick, foamy white head that quickly shrinks into a thin head that remains as you sip on the beer. The crystal clear beer is golden amber in appearance, fitting the typical appearance of an IPA.
Grassy hops, a touch of biscuit or toast, and caramel maltiness touch the nose, with the hops being the least defined character of the aroma. It seems there should be a stronger hop nose considering it’s an IPA, even though English IPAs aren’t always the hop bombs that American IPAs tend to be.
Medium-bodied with toasted malt, the flavour of the Big Rock IPA is balanced between malt and hops, but the floral hops could use a boost to set it apart from pale ales and more clearly drop it in the India pale ale category. Its short finish is also a little disappointing.
Easy drinkable and unchallenging, the Big Rock IPA perhaps should be called a pale ale instead of an IPA. With that in mind, the beer falls a little short for me, and if I’m going to go looking for an IPA, I’m going to find something with a little more kick to it. Big Rock likely meant this as an easy-drinking beer to take the average beer drinker that thinks of Keith’s as the epitome of the IPA style, and if that’s so, I’d say the brewery has succeeded. For a true hophead, though, there will be disappointment.