It’s not every beer in Canada that comes with a warning on the label, much less a warning that “this beer is intended for Hop Heads.” There’s some stuff about IBUs there, too, but as I mentioned recently to Uncle Jack, I never talk about such things in print.
(And anyway, let’s face facts, IBUs listed in craft beer are theoretical. Say that again with me, theoretical. Meaning they have no real meaning in the world of taste, other than to say that this is a hoppy beer and perhaps also “my penis is bigger than that of other brewers hereabouts.”)
But I like Alley Kat and have a lot of time for brewer and owner Neil Herbst – who, for the record, has not once spoken to me about the size of his member – so let’s take a look, smell and taste of this baby. Copper-hued, it has a light haze, I suspect from proteins. The nose is very apricot-y, which I have found is not unusual among beers hopped with simcoe hops, as is this one. Other aromas mixed in there are a lightly acidic and tropical fruitiness – pomegranate? passionfruit? – and a vaguely peppery spiciness.
On the palate, this starts round and fruity, like a big bowl of fresh fruit salad, before some pine-y hoppiness comes to the party and starts rearranging the seating plan. Before you know it, the fruit is pushed aside and pine’s buddies lemon and grapefruit zest are dominating the show, sharing only a bit of the dancefloor with floral notes and the fruit salad’s candied kin. The finish, however, is all big-bodied hop and lingering tang.
Overall, this is a big IPA that flows nicely from fruit to spice to bitter, although leans a bit too heavily on the last. If my tongue wasn’t quite as abused once I’d swallowed the beer, I think I’d enjoy it a whole lot more.