If you were looking for one particular style of beer that propelled the current awareness of craft beer into our collective consciousness, it would be West Coast IPA.
From early on, California was the epicentre for growth in the craft beer industry. In the late 1960s, brewers in California expressed their love for hops and the noble bitterness they can lend to a refreshing beer. This approach of brewing hop forward beers grew over the subsequent decades and evolved into the West Coast IPA. Bracingly bitter with an alcohol content ranging from 7–8%, West Coast IPAs have been the platform for countless brewers to really express their brewing chops.
One of the first Island breweries to embrace the style of West Coast IPA was Borden’s Lone Oak Brewing. When Lone Oak sought to select a core range of beers that they would be offering, West Coast IPA was at the forefront, and this led to the creation of their Hollywood IPA. Citrus forward with subtle sprucey notes, Hollywood serves up a pleasantly subtle malty body with a firm inviting bitterness. Definitely worthwhile to try in cans from PEILCC or on tap at your favourite spot that pours Lone Oak.
Walker West Coast IPA, a new addition from PEI’s longest running brewery, PEI Brewing Company, was launched in early June. Named after the brewery’s original location at the corner of Walker Drive and Kensington Road in Charlottetown, Walker West Coast IPA embraces the origins of the craft beer movement. A beer that pours a beautiful deep gold colour, with a pleasantly pungent hoppy aroma. At first taste, a sweet malt profile rolls over the palate, then followed by a soothing bitter wave of American hop. Walker West Coast IPA is available at all Gahan locations and on shelves at PEILCC.
Farther east on PEI, Montague’s Bogside Brewing Company launched their own spin on this classic hoppy ale. Shucker’s Select West Coast IPA pays tribute to both hop forward brews and the many talented people working in PEI’s oyster industry. With a more restrained bitterness than the previously mentioned beers, this IPA would certainly pair well with a few freshly shucked oysters from one of our many oyster growers.
If you are looking for a hoppy and refreshingly bitter beer to drink over the warmer months, one that can magically transport you to sunny California, be sure to try out these three locally produced West Coast IPAs. All are currently available at PEI Liquor Stores.