I visited their brewery, more than years ago, after they first opened their doors. Their shop was much smaller than it is today. I tried several of their first offerings: their Earnscliffe Brown Ale has great malted flavours and is an easy-drinking ale; the Earl Grey Marmalade Saison, uniquely sublime.
It wasn't until I visited the east-end brewery, last month, on a Brew Donkey tour, that it dawned on me that a review was way overdue.
On that tour, I tried four samples: a Winding Down the Bines Wet Hop Ale, a Belgian-style winter ale, Julebryg, and their deliciously decadent stout, Gomatose Ice Cream Stout. They were all very good—in fact, I brought home some of the stout—but one IPA stood head and shoulders above them all.
I haven't yet figured out the difference between West-Coast, East-Coast, or New-England when it comes to a style of IPA that, for me, seems to have the same characteristics: citrus-infused hops, tropical and citrus flavours, and a full-bodied finish. Some day, I'm going to have to sit down with an expert, and one of each style, and go through their distinctive subtleties.
Whatever their characteristics, there is one thing I know: I love this style of IPA.
So how does Dominion City's New England-styled IPA hold up? Let's take a look.
Sunsplit IPA (6.5% ABV)Appearance: an unfiltered, cloudy, pale orange, almost like grapefruit juice but with more saturated colour. The head is a creamy off-white that settles to a firm cap.
Dominion City Brewing Company
Nose: lush, citrussy hops that revealed more grapefruit and tangerine. Hints of pineapple.
Palate: bitter grapefruit rind and peppery flint. There are solid citrus flavours that subdue any tropical notes. The flavours wash solidly over your mouth and bring a long-lasting finish.
Overall impression: as I said before, I don't know the true difference between New England IPA and a West Coast IPA, and this offering from Dominion City doesn't help me clarify those differences. But what this ale does is please my palate, my nose, and warms me on a cold winter's day. This is a flavourful IPA with lots of driving hops and a citrus powerhouse. I could drink this IPA all day long.
Beer O'Clock rating: 4.5
I wish that this brewery was more centrally located in Ottawa. It's Beacon Hill industrial park remoteness is far of my beaten path, and I can only hope that my local LCBO stores stock this and other Dominion City brews. But when I do find the time to make the easterly trip, I know that it's worth it.
It may have taken me more than three years to review this brewery but it won't be the last time.