Thursday, 17 April 2014

Shoulders of Giants Imperial IPA

Shoulders of Giants is an Imperial India Pale Ale from the beer artisans at Barrie, Ontario's Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. I had a smallish glass--it does contain 10% alcohol after all--pumped from the cask at one of Toronto's most celebrated beer houses.

Shoulders was a swampy brown brew with khaki highlights. It arrived with a thick and durable carpet of cream coloured foam.  It had a substantially hefty aroma that had a surprising tropical fruit essence living amongst some citrus hops--it's sweet meets tart, with a bit of a candied quality.

A cask ale, but a boozy one, Shoulders of Giants had a creamy mouthfeel that sheltered its boozy heat, making it a dangerous sipper. It had a fairly sweet flavour, chalk full of passion fruit and pineapple. It wasn't nearly as overwhelmingly bitter as I expected from an imperial I.P.A.--rather, the bitterness was subtle and slow-building.

I found this to be a fascinating mug of suds. It's strong, but gently so, almost like a friendly giant. Ha! If you see this brew on offer, be sure to give it a whirl--as long as you don't have anything important to do with the rest of your day. I had mine on an empty stomach after a vigorous squash match, and it left me satisfied, but thoroughly unproductive.

This is the strongest cask ale that I have ever sampled. I was wary of how the boozy oomph might translate through a beer engine, but I needn't have worried. This stuff worked really well. It was soft and sultry, but backed by a deadly heat--a real femme fatale.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

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