Amsterdam Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA
Amsterdam Brewing's Boneshaker IPA is a limited time offering at the NSLC, and I'm happy to see that "limited" has actually lasted a pretty long time (I think it's been nearly 6 months, though it may finally be on its way out). It's sold in 6-bottle open carriers similar to those used by most imported brands (ie. Corona, Stella Artois). Visually they've gone for a "less is more" presentation; the carrier is plain brown boxboard with the beer's name printed it large font over the image of a skeleton riding an old fashioned bicycle.
The bottles are beer bottle brown but have an unconventional tall, cylindrical body with a somewhat shortened neck. From the lack of heft I'd guess they're made to be lightweight and environmentally friendly. Finally, they hold 355ml rather than the typical 341ml.
This Ontario beer is 7.1% abv and unfiltered, giving it a hazy appearance in the glass. The bitterness weighs in at 87 IBU.
Colour: Hazy, coppery orange. The head is off-white and doesn't get very tall but has good retention.
Nose: Grapefruit rinds and soft pine needles. There's marmalade hidden beneath those huge hop notes too, and it brings loads of extra depth with it. Interestingly the marmalade character seemed to vary between bottles, perhaps suggesting that some carry more yeast sediment than others (even within the same 6-pack).
Taste: Bitter and about as hoppy as can be. The nose truly predicts the palate here; grapefruit, tree needles, and that subtle but wonderful marmalade character are all present. It's quite delicious.
Finish: Unsurprisingly it finishes quite bitter. It's like you just chewed citrus pith, and it lasts for ages.
Overall: This is a must-try brew for fans of the style. No ordinary IPA.
Propeller Rye IPA
Propeller Rye IPA is a brand new seasonal offering from Nova Scotia's bestselling craft brewery. It's sold in 650ml bomber bottles and is available now at both Prop Shop locations, and should be replacing their Irish Red on NSLC shelves some time in the near future. It's also headed to the private stores (it's likely there already).
The label is in Propeller's usual style. This time around the central propeller logo has moved to the background and been replaced with a simple drawing of some stalks of rye grain. It's clean and simple and distinguishes it at a glance from the company's other products.
This beer is brewed to 6.8% abv with 72 IBUs bitterness. As usual I find the bottle size to be problematic for a strong beer; 500ml would have been plenty.
Colour: Honey brown to amber, and crystal clear. The head is off-white and not particularly tall, but like the Boneshaker it retains well.
Nose: The hop profile here is pretty pungent. Spruce and fir are very much in charge, with citrus pith acting as more of a background element.
Taste: Really full, rich feel to this one, almost a bit creamy. Bitterness and hoppiness are as dominant as you'd expect, but there's also a wonderfully subdued spicy quality that keeps this from being just another craft IPA.
Finish: Bitterness and citrus lead the finish, followed by the tree needles, faint orange peel, and baking spices.
Overall: Another IPA you probably ought to check out. If you liked Garrison and Beau's Sweet Rye'd then this will be right up your alley.
NSLC Availability (Propeller Rye IPA)