There have been a lot of great collaboration beers happening in Alberta recently. Troubled Monk, Blindman, and Bench Creek got together and concocted the stunning Troubled Waters DIPA, Ribstone Creek and Bench Creek brewed up Hermit, a recipe developed collaboratively but brewed in their separate brewhouses, giving subtle differences in the final product due to nuances in the variances in the water and brew systems used, and Alberta Small Brewers Association has recently released its 2016 Unity Brew (its eighth incarnation), bringing together small brewers from all over the province to share ideas and expertise. Drinking beer is a social endeavour that brings people together when they enjoy a pint and it’s nice to see that people are also drawn together on the brewing side of things.
Last week I was lucky enough to attend Trolley 5‘s Brewmaster’s Dinner. These dinners are phenomenal. Patrons get four courses of wonderful food complete with beer pairings, they can speak with the brewers who made beer, the chefs who crafted the menu, and they can sit with fellow beer fans, discussing their favourite brews and courses. My wife and I went to a dinner at Craft Beer Market back in the summer and I jumped at the opportunity to partake in Trolley 5’s dinner, which was celebrating the release of their Double IPA collaboration with Gigantic Brewing Company out of Portland, Oregon. I was even lucky enough to take home a growler of their combined efforts: Kaiju Killer.
Appearance: This double IPA develops a substantial, fizzy head when it is poured into the glass, leaving a ludicrous amount of lacing as it leaves. The beer is a crystal clear amber colour.
Aroma: There is a nose full of citrus and floral hops. Tart grapefruit is dominant, followed by some orange zest. Behind the various citrus is the very evident hop bitterness that comes through on the nose.
Taste: Like the aroma, you are immediately introduced to the grapefruit flavour, with some orange and other citrus following up. There is a really nice bitterness that hits you in the back of the throat. This is a strong beer, 8.9%, which you would expect in a double IPA, but this does not drink like a beer with that high of an ABV. Despite the high alcohol content, the beer goes down very easily. You don’t get hit with an overwhelming taste of alcohol, just hoppy goodness.
Feel: This is a medium-bodied ale with quite a bit of champagne-like carbonation. Kaiju Killer is very smooth with a dry finish that stays on the tongue.
Overall: You have to respect brewers who take on the double IPA and can do it justice. It’s a wonderful beer style when done properly, and I can happily say that this is a wonderful example of the style. A mouthful of this beer shows you how good hops can be. I hope that this beer is going stick around for a while at Trolley 5 because I believe it has just usurped Hey, Porter! as my favourite Trolley 5 brew – and if it’s not staying on tap, I have to get down there for another growler as soon as possible.