“Rebranding of Happy Hour Pale Ale”
A division of Moosehead Brewery, Hop City is nestled in Brampton, Ontario, and has been brewing moderately known beers such as “Barking Squirrel Lager” since 2009. Seeing large breweries taking notice of the craft beer scene while trying to corner a piece of the market is a sign of the times, and one that reassures the fact that craft beer is creating more than just foam. And hey, it also means that the big guys are making some better beer. Molson seems to be doing very well with their BEER ACADEMY in Toronto, while Labatt’s Alexander Keith’s has just launched their “Hop Series”, debuting both a Cascade and Hallertau version this month. While this, in a way, puts pressure on smaller breweries, it seems that they are doing just fine, collaborating on brews to ensure strong bonds to survive the oppression of the large, dominating entities. If a movie were to be made about this, “Beerheart” featuring Willamette Wallace, would seem fitting.
Like the Belgian beer, Delirium Tremens, it seems that the LCBO is not willing to carry Hop City’s pale ale while branded as “Happy Hour Pale Ale”, as it (arguably) promotes inebriation. Hop City has therefore rebranded this beer as “Big Mouth Pale Ale”, and utilized a rather “loud” label to go with it. The back of the 473ml can defines the beer as “an extremely well balanced pale ale with a flowery and citrusy aroma, ample hop bitterness, and caramel malt sweetness…48 IBUs of US Cascade and UK Kent Golding Hops.”
APPEARANCE: Golden and clear (presumably filtered). Thin, white creamy head with moderate lacing.
SMELL: Stong hoppiness with some caramal malt notes. Hops have a slightly harsh soapiness. Get some hoppy citrus, and maybe some floral. Aroma does diminish rather quickly, but then levels out to something approachable.
TASTE: Hop-dominant flavour & bitterness. Body is a thin and soapy. Finish is mostly hops which is enjoyable and has the palette ready to drink more.
MOUTHFEEL: Moderate carbonic bite and hop bitterness on the tongue. Very soft (presumably a soft water profile).
OVERALL: A session pale ale seemingly geared to be consumed in more than modest quantities. The beer is thin in body, but the hop-flavour is noteworthy.