The first time that I poured a glass of Liquid Art Fest, by Collective Arts, I was reminded of DW's juice mix. Would it have other similarities, I wondered. There was only one way to find out.
Liquid Art Fest IPA (5.9% ABV)Appearance: a thick-bodied, deep orange, like mango or orange juice (as I said in my introduction). A foamy, off-white head fizzes hard and almost immediately settles, and then vanishes altogether. The effervescence within bubbles to the top, giving the impression of pulp floating on the surface.
Collective Arts Brewing Co.
This looks exactly like a fruit juice, rather than an IPA.
I should also mention that Collective Arts is famous for its quirky to outlandish artwork, and this can is no exception. The bright turquoise with a Voodoo-inspired hop, with wild eyes popping out of its skull, tells you that this is no ordinary IPA.
Nose: lush mango, orange, and traces of vanilla mask the hops. Though this brew uses passion fruit in the mix, my nose can't find it. Perhaps, I haven't been exposed to it enough. But what my nose does pick up is nothing short of intoxicating (and I don't mean the alcohol content).
Palate: the mango leads the liquid charge, followed by orange (passion fruit?), before the hops bring up the rear and a trace of alcohol lingers in the finish. As this ale washes over my tongue, my taste buds desperately try to separate the fruit juices from the ale, in vain.
The fruit and beer are perfectly matched, though the fruit far outweighs the hops.
Overall impression: Liquid Art Fest tastes more like a carbonated smoothie than an ale—especially, an IPA. However, despite the cloying fruit, this is incredibly refreshing, much like DW's club soda and juice cocktails.
Typically, during the summer, I tend to lean toward the session ales and radlers that are light in body but big in flavour, but this summer, my go-to thirst-quencher will be this milkshake IPA. Originally released for the Liquid Art Brew Fest, in Hamilton, on June 15 and 16, I hope that I can continue to find it in the LCBO throughout the season.
Beer O'Clock rating: I've decided to give my rating system an overhaul, starting with this unique beer. Where I've had a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 meant that the beer was undrinkable, a 2 said there was something not quite right about the beer, 3 indicated that the beer met my expectations for its style, 4 was awarded to a beer that was a bit beyond expectations or was an interesting variation of a style, and 5 meant to stock up whenever you encountered it, I've decided to move to a new format.
The beer mug 🍺.
Instead of a 5-point scale, I'll use a three-tiered system (actually, four, as follows):
🍺 means the beer met my expectations for its style but was either flawed in a way that would be explained in the review or didn't stand out. In other words, it's okay, but not a beer that I would recommend.
🍺🍺 means that the beer was a classic example of its style. I would drink it again and would recommend it.
🍺🍺🍺 means that the beer is exceptional. A beer of this rating not only meets my expectations, it exceeds them. I highly recommend this beer.
If I provide no rating, it will mean that the beer, in my opinion, is an utter failure. No rating means that I took one or two sips to evaluate it, and then I poured the rest of the beer into a sink. Not only would a beer like this not be recommended, I would urge you to avoid it.
Also, because I don't list my beer ratings anywhere on my blog, each rating will explain why I've given the beer its score.
So, using my new scale, how does Liquid Art Fest fare?
Though this IPA is far from a classic India Pale Ale, you can still discern the hops and the full body. Because Collective Arts has distinguished this ale as a milkshake IPA, I expect a creamy, hazy brew. The advertising of passion fruit, mango, and vanilla gave me a set of instructions that told me what to look for, and I found it. Mostly.
I didn't identify the passion fruit, but there was something more than just mangoes, and that was more than enough. This is refreshing, easy-drinking, and a summer delight. Go out there and get some!