I was in Prince Edward County over the weekend and stopped in at the Barley Days Brewery to see what was new and was happy to discover they had a few more on offer than what was normally available year round. They had a Brown Ale, County IPA and Working Man’s Stout and I happily sampled all 3. The focus in this entry will be just the County IPA, I’ll come back to the other 2 in future posts.
Lately I’ve really come to enjoy West Coast Style IPAs, with its full on “slap you in the face” with grapefruit aromas. County IPA is not one of those styles of IPA unfortunately. This one is what is classed as an English IPA, which is much more malty grassy version than what I really like. Not that there is anything wrong with this IPA, it’s very respectable and pretty tasty for the style. They’ve used their Brown Ale for the base, which is a very English style beer and added more hops to it to make it an IPA.
The colour was medium to dark amber with a bit of an orange-ish tint to it. The head didn’t hang around very long, which is uncharacteristic for this style. The carbonation was a little low but considering they were using the Brown Ale as a base I’m not surprised.
Good carbonation in an IPA usually helps to bring the aroma forward and without it, I had to wait for it to warm up a little before I managed to smell anything. When I did finally get an aroma, it was mostly grassy with some floral undertones. The fruitiness I usually associate with this style was very subdued, but overall it smelled promising.
At the brewery they mentioned that this was made using some Prince Edward County hops, which got me very excited. They guy who sold me the beer couldn’t tell me what hop variety was used, so I’m curious to find out what kind of hops are being grown locally with any measure of success. He did tell that the hops came from a farm on Big Island, which is in the northern part of the County close to the Bay of Quinte. Next time I’m out there I’ll have to check it out and see what they’ve got growing.
The flavour was definitely true to style with a good balance of malt and bitterness. It wasn’t overly bitter, I was expecting more, so I was little disappointed that this didn’t punch me in the mouth with big hoppy flavour. The malt had a nice caramel like presence which is very common in English style ales.
Overall I did enjoy this beer and it went very well with the spicy dinner it accompanied.