I have to say, Sceamin’ Beaver is a great name for a Canadian beer. In the true fashion of company that is proud of it’s roots but humble in its beginnings, Beau’s Brewery has taken de Havilland’s iconic Beaver aircraft and created a striking label for this beer. The aircraft is as much a symbol of this country as the accepted animal. The plane was built for Canada, for our North, for the North’s rugged terrain (which made landing strips short), and for our winter itself. Truly, Beau’s has crafted an identity for this dark, winter beer, as symbolic and fitting as the lugtread tire has become for Beau’s inaugural lager.
Screamin’ Beaver is the first beer listed in Beau’s Best of 2013 “mix pack” which I introduced yesterday. It’s also Beau’s foray into IPA waters as they tackle the double India pale ale (DIPA). This certified organic beer pours a rich amber and is a much better example of what “amber” should look like than Flying Monkey’s newly released “Amber” (to be reviewed soon). A thick creamy head quickly forms, so pour easily – however, don’t fret because retention is moderate. For a double IPA, the nose doesn’t overwhelm with “typical” west-coast hop aromas, which shouldn’t surprise because two of the four hops are not “west coast” (Challenger is British; Pacific Gem is from New Zealand). However, the typical grapefruit and citrus aromas of a west-coast IPA are still there, just in balance. Pronounced, however, is the oak which brings with it a nice spiciness as well. Using oak staves rather than just an oak barrel, the staves provide even more oak contact for the beer. The oak is further pronounced by the use of the Pacific Gem hop varietal. Perhaps my imagination, but I’d say the oak and the darker malts produce a bit of chocolate off as well which makes this an awesome pairing with my chili.
Over the lips, the mouth becomes awash some buttery sweetness carried on a fine bed of carbonation. However, as wonderful a beginning as this brings, I wouldn’t say there is any overly pronounced flavour other than the oak – otherwise, the beer leaves more of a tactile first impression rather than a ‘taste.’
The middle tones, however, bring a lot of complexity where the dark malts, the dry hops, and the oak work in a remarkable balance to deliver maximum IBUs (99) … but in the most sneaky fashion. Just as sneakily, it delivers 9.9% alcohol by volume, which, together with the IBUs, suggests this beer could just as easily have been named a “Gretzky” and still, been an iconic Canuck. Refreshing pine, grapefruit and some sweet marmalade come across as well to leave a very warm feeling in the mouth.
Finally, this beer culminates with a meaty and satisfying ending. This is not a gulping brew but rather will fill you up and leave you satisfied. The finish is smooth, bitter (yes) as you’d expect in a DIPA, and with a marvelous aftertaste of spice (cloves from the oak?) that make this a perfectly seasonal brew. This is an awesome and unique DIPA, so enjoy it while you can.
Stats: DIPA. 9.9% ABV. Vankleek Hill, Ontario.
Colour: Dark amber
Mouth Feel: Medium carbonation with a creamy smoothness throughout.
Purchased: LCBO as part of “Best of Beau’s Mix Pack”
Pairings: Chili con Carne (recipe here)