British Columbia

B.C. craft beer trends: 4 IPAs to check out

India Pale Ales have become so big that any brewery opening up must start with brewing them, says beer columnist Matthew McFarlane.

Beer columnist Matthew McFarlane lists his top four favourite Indian Pale Ales

Central City Brewers and Distillers can bottle up to 250 units per minute at its new facility. (Yvonne Chiang)

India Pale Ale is arguably one of the most popular varieties of craft beer in B.C., but it wasn't always so well-received in this part of the world.

Beer pioneer Bert Grant, considered the forefather of the hoppy Pacific Northwest-style IPA, first started brewing the variety using native hops in Yakima, Wash., in the 1980s, said CBC music producer and beer columnist Matthew McFarlane. 

"It was much hoppier, much more bitter, (with) lots of great fruit flavours and a lot of people hated it," McFarlane told North By Northwest's Sheryl MacKay.

"Everyone came in and went, 'Ugh. What is this?' [Grant] went, 'I don't care what you think, I'm making beer that I want to drink.' Lo and behold, the hops in Pacific Northwest beer took off."

Nowadays, IPAs have become so big that any brewery opening up must start with brewing them, said McFarlane. Here are some of what McFarlane considers the best IPAs available in B.C. Liquor Stores.

Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

"It's quite bitter," McFarlane said. "It's full of pine flavours and lots of lemon notes … and the malt comes through in this one quite strongly as well."

Central City Red Racer IPA

"It's a lot darker than the Driftwood Fat Tug IPA," McFarlane said. "(It has a) very dark, muted taste, not as bright as Fat Tug, and (with) warmth and lots of caramel flavours pervading."

Bad Tattoo Westcoast IPA 

"This is a clean, pure taste," McFarlane said. "It's quite a bit less boozy and it's really balanced."

No-Li Born and Raised IPA

"The thing I liked about this one so much is it's very, very flowery," said McFarlane. "It kind of reminded me of climbing a mountain in late August, and all the wild flowers are out and that kind of smell and freshness."

To hear the full interview with Matthew McFarlane, click on the audio labelled: Four IPAs recommended by beer columnist Matthew McFarlane. 

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