Sunday, 22 February 2015
Instigator IPA is styled a West Coast I.P.A., though it comes from "The Annex", a trendy neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario. It's the progeny of the Indie Ale House, one of T.O.'s premier brew pubs. I seldom have cause to venture into the Annex (though I really should, since there's lots of cool stuff), but I found myself there on a snowy Saturday in February and used the opportunity to rattle off a couple of reviews at the brewery, and to bring home a quartet of bottles of Indie's Instigator IPA to sip and review from the confines of mi casa.
The bottles that I purchased were of the 650mL variety, and came with a stern-looking bearded gent on the label, as well as the statement that Instigator is "easy to drink and great with food and friends if you have any." As I was sipping on this 6.5% ale by my lonesome, I was briefly perturbed. "Do I have any friends?" I wondered. Fortunately this malaise was followed quickly by "Oh yeah, many." Existential crises thus averted, on to the beer.
Instigator is a lazy, hazy orange-gold ale that pours with a hefty measure of off-white head. It produces a hospitable and cozy aroma of bitter grapefruit. This nose is rebroadcast in the flavour, where citrus elements and juicy hop notes are at the fore. En arrière, there is a modest malt presence that seems to want to be noticed, but which struggles to assert itself above the clamour and clang of hops. As expected, the finish is fairly dry and fairly bitter.
As Indie Ale House's flagship brew, Instigator does its job pretty well. It's a pleasant little ale with a great flavour and not too much booze. It's by no means forgettable, but it isn't unique either. Rather, it's a well made beer with lots to enjoy. It makes the drinker want to try more of I.A.H.'s lineup, which is where they branch out into more memorable and risky beers.
Rating: 8.0 out of 10.