It took me a long time to find this stuff.
Late spring, when Beau's announced that they were releasing a west-coast style IPA, I was all excited. I first discovered West-Coast IPA just over a year ago, when Mill Street launched their fruity, hoppy delight. I loved the lush, tropical-fruit flavours backing up one of my favourite styles of ale, and I couldn't get enough of it.
Since then, I've tried a handful of this trending brew and haven't been disappointed by any of them.
(Okay, one made me turn my nose up: but it was filtered crystal-clear, and I was used to seeing the cloudy, murky body from so many other brewers. It still tasted as I expected.)
So when Beau's announced that they were releasing their own version of a West-Coast IPA, I was like a boy anticipating his date at a prom*. But could I find it? No.
I first went to my local LCBO, but they hadn't stocked it, yet. I then drove to my next-closest store, but again, they had none on their shelves. In Kanata, I found some but it was packaged with three other brews: one, a Lug Tread.
I have no use for Lug Tread.
Every other store I tried was either sold out or offered it in the four-pack. And, for a while, I gave up. If I was in an LCBO, I'd look for it. What would be, would be.
It wasn't until last week, after being away from my Barrhaven LCBO for more than a month, that I found a couple of bottles on the shelf. I snatched them up immediately.
I had my first bottle on Saturday, at a friend's 70th birthday party. I filled a pint glass for myself (it comes in a 600ml bottle) and shared the rest with my long-time friend and brewmaster extraordinaire, Perry Mason (he wasn't the guy turning 70: that friend makes some of the best wine anywhere, but that's another story).
We both enjoyed the ale (Perry's comment was, "it's not bad"), but I knew that I needed to sit down, alone, and focus on all aspects of the beer to truly review it. Which is where I'll now go.
Full Time IPA (6.7% ABV)
Beau's All Natural Brewing Company
Vankleek Hill, ON
Appearance: partially filtered, amber-orange with a creamy, off-white head that settles to a full lace.
Nose: bitter orange.
Palate: hops hit first, followed by tropical notes of mango, orange rind, and a flinty, black-pepper and pine finish.
Overall impression: while this is not my favourite west-coast style IPA, its name says it all: this is a full-time IPA that spends its part time on the west coast. It's a solid IPA for the serious IPA connoisseur, packed with all kinds of flavour to treat your palate.
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
My friend may have said that Full Time is "not bad," but that does mean it's good. For me, it's very good, and if you like full-bodied IPAs with a kick of extra flavour or you already enjoy a good west-coast style IPA, this beer's for you.
It may have taken me all summer to find a bottle of this stuff, but Full Time IPA is worth the wait.
* In my day, we didn't use the word prom—that was American. We called the end-of-high-school dance a grad.