Banff Ave. Brewing Head Smashed IPA

Reviewed by on June 15, 2016 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Banff Ave. Brewing Co.

  • Origin: Banff, AB, CA

  • Rated On: June 15, 2016

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.2%

  • Ideal Temperature: cold to cool

  • Style: Canadian IPA

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Head Smashed IPA is touted as this brewery’s flagship beer, and is purportedly made in the English style.  The name is an ode to the Unesco World Heritage Site located in deep southern Alberta – Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.  So why not Head-Smashed-In IPA?

This 650ml bottle pours a slightly hazy, medium golden amber hue, with one finger of foamy whipped egg white head, which settles rather quickly, leaving a low, ‘land ahoy!’ vista of lace around the glass.

It smells of moderate piney and sweet citrusy hops, with a tame bready and doughy caramel malt, and a bit of muddled earthiness, origin unknown. The taste is much softened from the aroma – the pine and citrus esters hinting at an ill-advised sabbatical, with an echo of the promised bitterness actually delivered – it’s more caramel cream and very mild swirling booziness, than anything.  The carbonation is on the low side, with a few pricks here and there (don’t go there, Beavis…), the body a solid middleweight, and rather smooth, given the hop innie going on here. It finishes more sweet than I would have initially surmised, but not all that surprising by this end point.

While not a bad IPA by any stretch of the imagination, it just doesn’t seem to want to run with even the above average standard-bearers of either the Yankee or Brit style.  The hops need a much greater staying power, savoury bitterness, and overall presence. Not quite English, not all that American, so by default, Canadian it is, eh?

Brady White

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