An interesting tale of two beers, same family, same brewery, but very different. Right from the pour, the differences sprang (see previous post “IPA Classique”). Cascade is as pure a filtered beer as you’ll see and it fills the glass with a deep, reddish brown … almost a dark “apple juice” in colour. The carbonation is the next difference with this brew being quite mild by comparison, light on the tongue, and the head, half the height or less, falls away very very quickly.
I think a picture will clearly illustrate the difference in the glass — which is stunning, really, because the stats of these two beers would not lead most people to think they could be that remarkably different. Take a look at the two beers side by side in the picture …
Whereas the “Classique” was all malt and very strong on the first taste, the Americaine is brilliant on the finish. The front still has some of the same flavours of the Classique, but it’s like someone cut off the top of the taste: almost a ‘junior’ version of those malts. However, the 66 IBUs clean up the finish, like I say, “brilliantly.” This is one of the nicest finishes I’ve had in a while. In between, however, there is almost nothing – just a kind of watery sweetness. This is something I wouldn’t expect in 6.4% beer.
The other ‘absence’ I was surprised to discover was the west coast hop smell I’ve come to predict (and expect) in anything purporting to be an American or west coast IPA. In this case, those citrus aromas are incredibly slight and you’d have to go ‘sniffing’ for them to know they’re there. With the name “Cascade” you know before even reading the label that this is the west coast hop they used. Perhaps I’m more used to Crystal, but this was weak by comparison and the aromas were drowned out by the peaty malts that lay underneath. Disappointing given they call this “American.”
This is a difficult review because to compare it in class, I think this beer fails – but, on its own, it’s actually a well-balanced bitter that would do well in any pub with pub food. Smokey and ‘oily,’ this is another good pairing with fish and chips or, even better, a grilled cheese with smoked cheddar. This pairing is likely on account of the buttery diacetyl left in the mouth, a byproduct of the beer’s fermentation. If you love or know a buttery Chardonnay, you’ll know what I mean.
Stats: IPA. 6.4% ABV. 66 IBUs. St-Eustache, Quebec.
Colour: Amber brown (filtered).
Mouth Feel: low-medium, low fizz on the tongue, leaving a ‘watery’ mid-taste, and clean, bitter aftertaste.