Monday, November 12, 2012

Beer O'Clock: Double-Hopping Mad

It was hard to look at this weekend and believe that we are moving toward mid-November. Soon, a coating of snow will blanket our lawns and a chill in the air will keep us indoors. But this weekend, it was easy to put those thoughts behind us.

With the sunshine and mild temperatures on Saturday, I was able to don just a sweater and rake the leaves that had blown onto my lawn from Superstorm Sandy. I also took a moment to sit on my front porch and enjoy what may surely be the last weekend where I will be able to sit in my Muskoka chair and relax with a beer or two.

Two beers, yes. Double the pleasure.

And what better beer to double my pleasure in my Muskoka chair than a double-hopped IPA from the folks at Muskoka Brewery.

Running with their hugely successful Mad Tom IPA, which I reviewed last year, the brewers decided that the intense hops of this IPA weren't intense enough. And so they dry-hopped their ale twice to up the hop flavours and bring out more all-round flavour.

But does it work? Let's see...

Twice as Mad Tom IPA
Muskoka Brewery
Bracebridge, ON
LCBO: $12.95, 4 x 355 ml; 8.4% ABV
I love Mad Tom. It's one of the beers in my repertoire of everyday beer: when I'm wanting an everyday beer, I go for Tankhouse; if I want a stout, I pick St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout or a Cobblestone; if I want an IPA, it's Mad Tom. So when I heard that Muskoka was going to release an extra-hoppy version, I couldn't wait to try it.

Bright copper in colour with a creamy-white, foamy head that lasts, this ale presents definite orange rind notes with a hoppy grapefruit on the nose.

In my first sip, I was punched in the mouth with intense hops and alcohol—not surprising, as this is an 8.4-percent ale—and a bold orange zest. However, the hops seem to drop off the palate almost immediately, leaving the alcohol and orange in the mouth for the finish.

I like this beer but I have to be honest: I think I still prefer the regular Mad Tom (which is far from a regular beer). I find that Mad Tom has a bold flavour with intense grapefruit that holds on from start to finish. And the finish is clean and crisp and has me wanting more.

Twice as Mad Tom's finish drops off, and I find that I'm not partial to an alcohol finish. That said, the alcohol isn't overpowering: you're not left thinking you're drinking a boozy beer.

If you like intense IPAs, Twice as Mad Tom is definitely a must-try ale. If you're a big fan of the regular Mad Tom, you may find this variation not quite as fulfilling, but delicious nonetheless.

You might also want to be weary of the alcohol content: if you're going for Twice as Mad Tom, consider staying put for the night. But because Twice-Mad is more expensive than the other Mad Tom and only comes in a four-pack (Mad Tom comes in a six-pack), you're not likely to buy a lot of it for one session.

Where I give Mad Tom a perfect five beer caps out of five on the Untappd scale, I give Twice as Mad Tom four. What does the beer-cap rating mean? For me, it goes as follows (and starting this week, I'll start rating beer on this scale):
One beer cap: the beer is crap. Stay away at all costs.
Two beer caps: the beer is okay but is not to my liking. You might want to decide for yourself.
Three beer caps: the beer is good. Go for it.
Four beer caps: I really like it. Get some before it's gone.
Five beer caps: I love it. Drop what you're doing and get some. Now!
In other beer news, I will be at Mill Street Brew Pub in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 13, from about 4:30 on, where I will be earning my MBA (Master of Beer Appreciation), which means I have consumed 80 pints of Mill Street goodness.

(I've actually had way more than 80 pints since the pub opened its doors, but on many occasions I've either forgotten to bring in my card or I had my card and forgot to get it initialled by the staff.)

The MBA gets my name engraved on a stainless-steel keg, for all to see.

If you can't make it, fear not. I'll be bringing my camera and will post photos next week for the beer review, as I will also be reviewing Mill Street's latest release, a chocolate stout (I tried some last week during International Stout Day—the day before the actual release of the stout, and it's awesome!).

(Mill Street should really sponsor my blog. I swear to God...)



  1. Ross

    You should join us on Facebook. and twitter #FridayNightPints #FNP
    Different posts from hopheads all across Canada

    FYI I Picked up some Cobblestone Stout to try

    1. I'll check that out on Twitter, though I don't use my Facebook page publicly.

      Thanks, and enjoy the Cobblestone.