First Draught — New craft brewery serves up tasty IPA

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I’m currently mourning the loss of my favourite India pale ale crystal glass I purchased at Hudson’s Bay for $9.99 back in 2014. As I was moving glasses around only moments before starting this review, my IPA glass fell and shattered into a million pieces at what seemed like 400 frames per second in slow-mo as I saw it happened. My gut sank and now I’m without an amazing IPA glass!

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/03/2018 (1603 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I’m currently mourning the loss of my favourite India pale ale crystal glass I purchased at Hudson’s Bay for $9.99 back in 2014. As I was moving glasses around only moments before starting this review, my IPA glass fell and shattered into a million pieces at what seemed like 400 frames per second in slow-mo as I saw it happened. My gut sank and now I’m without an amazing IPA glass!

If you’re lucky enough to have a nice beer glass (even the nice free ones with a case of your favourite beer), treat them well and don’t put them near the ledge of any table, ever!

It’s about time to give an update on the Manitoba craft beer scene. Brasserie Nonsuch has been doing an amazing job with releasing a new Belgian-style beer every month or two. Many of you will know that their first batch of the Saison was overly carbonated, but their releases afterwards have been pretty spot on. Last week, they brought out their Belgian Strong Ale, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale that tops out at eight per cent ABV. This beer is in the same category as Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles. You can find this at the Corral Centre and South End Liquor Marts for $11 per 750-ml bottle.

Transoxania IPA

Fort Garry has released their first Barley Wine called Cannon Fodder. Cannon Fodder retails for $9.20 per 650-ml bottle and is available at the Brandon South Liquor Mart.

Lastly, Winnipeg’s newest brewery, Oxus Brewing, officially opened only a few weeks ago and two of their beers are now available in Brandon. Their Juice of the Oats Oatmeal Stout and Transoxania IPA are available for purchase in Liquor Marts in Brandon and Dauphin.

I’ve had my ear on the Manitoba brewery pulse for several years, but I’m not familiar with Oxus, so I’m trying their beer out for the first time like you!

Well, first off: Oxus is only a stone throw’s away from Torque, Capital K Distillery and Barn Hammer. Their “About Us” page didn’t give me any information aside from them being a small craft brewery. Well, we definitely need more craft breweries in Manitoba; it has been a while since the last craft brewery opened (in October 2017).

For this week’s review, I decided on Transoxania IPA, which is described as being a West Coast-style IPA with aromas of citrus, pine and tropical fruit, balanced with a solid malt backbone.

I’m a bit grouchy that I had to settle with a large pilsner glass for this review, but after the breakage of my trusty IPA glass, I have to use whatever I’ve got! The beer pours with a lightly cloudy, orange body with a light amount of sediment throughout the beer. There’s a good amount of carbonation throughout the body, and a moderate amount of snow white frothy head on top of the beer … yum!

The aroma of Transoxania IPA is essentially your typical West Coast-style IPA: The aroma of pineapple, grapefruit and lemon are dominating for the aromas I’m getting so far, but there definitely is a mild, bitter, pine bitterness that’s popping up in just about every scent. There’s also a hint of nuttiness. For the most part, it’s pretty tropical and mildly bitter.

As for the tasting notes of the beer, the grapefruit and tropical fruit profile are pretty much there, but it’s dialed down a bit. The nuttiness and the bitter hop profile seems to be a tad more dominant in the tasting profile. The one thing I’m noticing a lot is that it’s nuttier than most IPAs. That’s not a bad thing, but I was hoping to see the piney hop presence to be more dominant than the nuttiness in this beer.

This is definitely a West Coast-style IPA, a pretty decent one in fact! It has a bitterness of pine and wood that New England IPAs don’t have, as well as the tropical notes of pineapple, grapefruit and lemon that made West Coast IPAs popular five years ago. The nuttiness is a bit off, but the more I’m sampling it, it’s more typical of West Coast-style woodiness. This India pale ale is definitely a bit hefty for the stomach, a bit reminiscent of Half Pints’ Little Scrapper IPA from back in the early 2010s.

I wish there was a tad bit less nuttiness and a bit more of a floral, bitter pine presence to it, as it has been too long since I’ve had a West Coast IPA as every brewery is moving toward creating a juicy, tropical, smoothie-style New England IPA that doesn’t taste anything like any IPA you’ve ever had.

I’m happy to see Oxus available in Brandon so soon after opening their brewery! I feel like if they tweaked their IPA to be a tad more floral and bitter, and less nutty, it would be something I would buy weekly. You can find Oxus Transoxania IPA at Liquor Marts in Brandon and Dauphin for an affordable price of $6.50 per 650-ml bottle.

Rating: 3 pints out of 5

•••

Brandon Beer Fest is less than a week away and you can still purchase tickets at Brandon Liquor Marts for $30 each. They will be selling out soon, so get your tickets now! Proceeds for the event go to Brandon’s Food for Thought program. This year’s event will feature the most Manitoba breweries ever featured for the event. I’ll see you there!

» Cody Lobreau is a Canadian beer blogger who reviews every beer he can get his hands on as he believes that he should try every beer twice to get an understanding if it’s truly good or bad.

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