I can already hear some of your voices in my head as you’re reading this: "Oh Cody, yet another IPA? Are you serious? I hate IPAs. Why aren’t you reviewing Stella Artois instead? All you ever do is review IPAs!"
Well, India pale ales are a broad style of beers — to the point that it can taste like a lager (Alexander Keith’s) or like a wheat beer (Belgian IPAs). A common theme from a few of my friends who became IPA lovers in Manitoba was that they checked out the Driftwood Brewery in Victoria, and fell in love with its Fat Tug IPA. Fat Tug is easily one of my top five IPAs, and that includes Heady Topper from Vermont.
Driftwood Brewing makes more beers than just Fat Tug, in fact, they make a lot of amazing beers and its beer labels are some of the best in the entire industry thanks to the folks over at Hired Guns Creative out of Nanaimo, B.C.
This week, I’m checking out Driftwood’s Raised By Wolves IPA. Raised by Wolves is described as being born of equinox hops and raised under the influence of saccharomyces trois yeast. This beast developed a taste for mango, citrus and melon with a nose to match.
I’m not familiar with equinox hops and haven’t had any beers with saccharomyces trois yeast in the past so the "raised-by-wolves" theme actually plays well into the theme of the beer. The beer pours a pale, cloudy, golden-straw ale with a great deal of micro-carbonation, a hint of fizz and a good deal of off-white foaminess that is reminiscent to your typical Canadian IPAs (creamy, mild thickness and leaves lots of foam bits on the side of the glassware).
The aroma is simply tasty. If you are familiar with beers that use Galaxy hops, then you are in for a treat as this beer is very reminiscent to a Galaxy-hopped IPA as it’s a liberally citrus-forward IPA with notes of grapefruit, melon, orange peel, peach and mango. There’s a hint of pine bitterness as well, but, in this case, there’s more fruit in the hops than bitterness, almost like a fruit cocktail. My initial impression on the taste is that the hop bitterness is very much present, with a bitter pine flavour to it. The tropical citrus flavours are very much dominant in this Vancouver Island IPA. The flavours I get are pineapple, mango, bitterness of grapefruit and a hint of apricot.
I would have appreciated this IPA back in July when the heat was unbearable, but, even so, this is an extraordinary IPA that’s mostly fruit forward with a hint of pine to back it up. The batch is certainly fresh and it’s expected to be savoured ASAP.
Driftwood can’t seem to make a bad beer and this is no exception. This is an IPA I recommend to not only to the hop heads that read this column, but to those who like a sweeter, citrusy ale because this beer is just wowing me at every stage. I’m going to save a bottle of this beer for Christmas when my family is away in the Bahamas and I’ll be sulking. At least I’ll have this beer to make it feel like a tropical paradise.
You can find Driftwood’s Raised By Wolves (7 per cent ABV) at Liquor Marts in Brandon and Dauphin for $6.75 per 650 ml bottle. This will be one of the only times you’ll ever see me rate a five out of five pints, but it’s an IPA that’s worth it!