Posts Tagged ‘hops

Alley Kat captures the fire of another dragon in a big bottle

- May 8th, 2013


Alley Kat has another dragon on the loose.

Jade Dragon, the latest in the Dragon Double IPA series, is hitting the streets this week, bringing tropical notes in time for summer.

For hop heads out there the Dragon DIPA series brings 75+ IBU of hoppy goodness — where the Red Dragon was flavoured with Simcoe hops, Jade is single hopped with Citra variety hops.

“We wanted to brew a Dragon Series DIPA with hops that would honour the season. Citra hops have flavours of grapefruit, passionfruit and even lychee, which are perfect flavours for spring,” Alley Kat co-owner Neil Herbst said. “It’s an exciting new addition to the Dragon Series.”

Alley Kat Brewer Brian Westcott says the hops varieties are fun to experiment with.

“The goal is to take hoppiness to a bold new level, but in the end still have a highly drinkable beer,” he said.

“Jade Dragon DIPA achieves this and we’re excited for it to hit the shelves.”

The Dragon series is part of the Big Bottle series from Alley Kat. Look for it through your local liquor store, or search

Playing catch-up: Keith’s Hop Ale

- April 29th, 2013

Recently, I was in line at one of my local liquor stores with a sampling of beer from Wild Rose, Phillips and Alley Kat. Two of the four bottles I had selected were of the IPA variety: A Phillips Hoperation Tripel Cross Belgian IPA and Wild Rose’s Hoptimal Double IPA.

As I set the bottles on the counter to pay, the woman in front of me, who I’d reckon was in her 50s, looked at my choices and said “So you’re the one who likes IPA. I’ve tried every kind of beer and I just can’t get into that.”

I was thinking about that recently when I saw the new commercial for Keith’s Cascade Hop Ale.

I recently had a chance to sample the Cascade and the Hallertauer, both which put the flavour of the hops front and centre. But with one thing missing.

While I’ve had IPAs with a big citrusy wallop, in the neighbourhood of 70-80 International Bitterness Units, the Keith’s offerings are generally subded, less than 30 IBUs.

The woman at the liquor store, and others who don’t like IPAs, are exactly who Keith’s is likely hoping to win over. And good on them.

It may be the first instinct of many craft beer fans and hop heads to criticize the brewery. I read some online commentary suggesting that Keith’s is somehow trying to trick people by making them think what they’ve bought is an IPA, when it’s not.

It’s ridiculous.

The Hop Ales are as advertised. They’re beers that put the flavour of the titular hops front and centre.

The Cascade Hop Ale offers the aromas and flavours of citrus. It’s a nice copper colour and has a smooth finish. I would definitely buy this again.

While I quite liked the Cascade Hop Ale, I wasn’t as fond of the Hallertauer. It had the herbal spice that the brewery advertised, but it reminded me of Heineken. Wasn’t as big a winner for me.

With so many hop varieties out there, I am curious to see what comes next in the Hop Ale series.

Labatt hops to it with new Keith’s ale

- March 22nd, 2013


The makers of Keith’s have made an interesting foray into the specialty beer segment this month.

As all the bigger breweries look to what the craft beer segment is doing as a template for experimentation, the fine folks at Keith’s are offering up a nod to the niche segment, while trying to teach beer drinkers about one of its essential ingredients: Hops.

The Alexander Keith’s Hop Series is meant to showcase the unique characteristics of individual hops varieties, the brewery says, those being Cascade and Hallertauer.

“Alexander Keith’s has a rich history of brewing quality, great tasting beer for more than 190 years. Our new Hop Series ales are a continuation of this heritage,” said Keith’s brand manager Mike Bascom.

“As the number one specialty brand in Canada, Alexander Keith’s will be traveling across the country this spring to educate Canadians on the brewing process and the role of the hop. Through the Hop Series, we’ll introduce Canadians to new brews that single out one variety of hop and drive home the unique flavour signatures and aroma that hops impart.”

The Cascade Hop Ale, whose chief ingredient comes from the Pacific northwest, offers flavours and aromas of citrus, says the beer’s makers, while the Hallentauer, featuring German hops, is more herbal and spicy.

The company’s brewmaster calls the series a labour of love.

“We had a lot of fun experimenting and exploring new flavours and variations to ensure we brewed something that tasted great and met the high standards of Alexander Keith’s,” Steve Durand said

“Flavour and aroma were paramount in the development of these brews. To achieve this, we added fresh hops during the brew’s maturation phase — a technique known as dry hopping. The end result is a rich, hop-forward ale with strong aromatics, balanced by 100 per cent malts.”

The Hop Series will be availble in different formats across Canada, including six packs, mixed 12-packs and 473 ml cans.

Alley Kat releases the Dragon — again

- March 7th, 2013


It’s nearly spring, the time of year when the Red Dragon comes out of hibernation to wreak fire on the landscape.

OK, not really, but it’s is the time of year when Alley Kat Brewery is once again releasing its Red Dragon Double India Pale Ale to quench Alberta beer lovers’ desire for a hoppy brew.

Edmonton-based Alley Kat started up the Dragon series little over a year ago with the DIPA, and brewery owner Neil Herbst said they wanted to give fans another chance to try it, “in case they missed it the first time around.”

“The response for the Dragon Series has been overwhelming, so revisiting those first Dragons is a great way to expose new fans to the series.”

Red Dragon is single hopped Simcoe variety hops and is “golden in colour, with notes of pine, passionfruit and mild breadiness.”

Initially part of Alley Kat’s Big Bottle Series, which currently features St. Portersburg Baltic Porter, the Dragon Series will now be a seperate release, says Brewmaster Brian Westcott.

“There’s so much momentum towards very hop-forward beers in North America right now.” Westcott said.

“After we released the first two Double India Pale Ale’s it became clear that we could make the Dragon Series and showcase different hops bi-monthly.”

The most recent, the Plaid Dragon DIPA sold out in a month, Westcott said.

More information about the Dragon Series can be found on the Alley Kat website.

Tree Brewing releases a triple threat for the Hop Heads out there

- October 15th, 2012

Hop Pack - Oct 2012

Look out Alberta, our neighbours to the west have just dropped a hop bomb.

Hop-heads can rejoice, and people looking to hop to it with some new brews can get a taste of Tree Brewing’s signature brew, plus a couple of cousins with the new Hop Pack.

Available in B.C. and Alberta, the Hop Pack includes the classic HopHead IPA, the fan favourite HopHead Double IPA, and the darker flavour of the HopHead Black IPA.

“HopHead has become our signature beer with our consumers,” Tree Brewing President Tod Melnyk said.

“With the introduction of HopHead Double IPA and more recently HopHead Black IPA, the response has been incredible, so we decided to bring the family together for HopHead lovers to enjoy this fall.”

The HopHead IPA and Double IPA are both award winners, helping make a name for Tree brewing in the craft beer world, and I like that they have moved to the Black IPA. I love the dark flavours from roasted malt complemented with a hoppy finish.

Get this pack while it lasts.

The HopHead Family (tasting notes supplied by Tree):

HopHead IPA: 5.6% ABV
Full bodied and loaded with hops, Hop Head is considered one of the most innovative beers in the craft brewing industry. Displays an intense hop aroma with a complex malt/hop profile, snappy bitterness and dry finish.

HopHead Double IPA: 8.2% ABV Loaded with five different hop varieties, this bold well hopped IPA is not for the faint of heart. Displays an intense hop aroma with sweet malt notes balanced with complex flavors of citrus and dried fruit.

HopHead Black IPA: 8.0% ABV Dark brown /black in colour, delivering an aroma of roasted malt tones. With five different varieties of superior hops and six malts, HopHead Black IPA brings out a malt forward taste with a lingering hop bitterness.