Cruising the shelves of a North Shore liquor store I came across a Belgian Rye IPA from Four Winds. Huh, I thought to myself, now there’s something you don’t see everyday (a Belgian Rye IPA that is). Since I’ve had a few Four Winds’ beers in the past, and they haven’t steered me wrong, there was really only one thing to do… Give ‘er a go!
Unlike the watery swill our forefathers choked on, and continue to do so for some reason, there is nothing stereotypical when it comes to opening up a craft beer. Most brewers attempt to put their own twist on a style of beer. Which makes trying something new a completely fresh and interesting experience.
Getting home with my new found treasure I did a bit of digging to see what I had gotten myself into. A general rule of thumb for a Belgian Rye IPA was a high IBU (this one clocks in at a healthy 65), it should be a strong beer (7.2% ABV for this bad boy), a deep amber to copper colour, fruity hop flavours and scent, maybe some spice, and reasonably malty (by IPA standards).
So with bottle opener in hand, it was time to crack this bad boy open and see what it had under the hood.
The Details: IPA, 7.2% ABV, 65 IBU
The Pour: Pours a nice creamy head which settles to a pleasant thin layer that clings to the glass sides. Definitely not clear, a bit hazy but not mirky (might be a temperature thing). Not quite as dark in colour as I was thinking it would be, but that’s okay.
The Smell: Overwhelming wheat/rye scent, easily pick up on the citrus and then a strange fruit concoction.
The Swig: Super smooth to the mouth. The combination of wheat and rye make for a really earthy flavour reminiscent of a hefeweizen. While providing a bit of sweetness that settles to bitter.
A unique hop combo using citra hops (an IPA favourite) for a citrus zing, tropical fruit tones, and mid-high alpha acids for bittering, coupled with belma hops which are also a dual purpose hop contributing tonnes of fruity goodness. The hops are certainly doing their job here as you pick up on the citrus and fruit.
WIBTA?: You betcha. This is a whacky IPA that I can see indulging in. The Hefe meets IPA sort of vibe throws a curveball that is very much appreciated. Plus it just has such a nice balance of bitter-sweet-earthy-fruitiness that keeps things interesting.
The Closing Notes
I’m learning that when you experience a beer for the first time, going in with prejudice is not a good thing. An open mind, open palette, and open senses can open up a whole new world where one can appreciate what the brew master had in mind.
So I encourage you to pick up a bottle of something completely new, a bomber of Four Wind Phaedra perhaps, and savour it without prejudice.
Where do I find this beverage? Go to the link on their website showing various stockists around the province or visit Four Winds Brewing in person. It’s available both on-tap for a growler fill, or in a 650ml bottle (this is a limited / seasonal beverage).
Well that’s it for now, gonna go quench that panda sized thirst… Cheers!
*WIBTA is where I ask myself “Would I Buy This Again?”