Review: Fort Garry Portage & Main India Pale Ale

Review: Fort Garry Portage & Main India Pale Ale by Cody La Bière
So, Fort Garry has finally come out with an India Pale Ale, one that has been in the planning for quite some time now. Portage and Main IPA is part of their popular Brewmaster's Series, where the brewery focuses on bringing quality beers aimed towards the ever changing craft beer scene, rather than sticking with the bread and butter staples (Pale/Dark Ale) forever and ever. Generally, most Canadian microbreweries have at least one IPA now days as part of their regular or seasonal lineups, but for Fort Garry, it took them 2013 to come out with one, but mainly so they could get the recipe right and of course come out with something that beer geeks will always like. One thing that really intrigues me about the Portage and Main IPA is that they use Manitoban-grown hops, as most of you would know - Manitoba isn't exactly hop central as the harsh -40 winters generally destroy a hop vine unless if the plant is well insulated in the winter time. The beer is stated to be a West Coast style IPA, so it's going to be quite a hoppy beer sandwich.

Appearance: I love the design of the label, great tribute to Canada's most famous intersection, Portage and Main and the old Winnipeg Streetcar system. The beer pours a bright yet hazy reddish amber with a nice amount of yellow-beige head. Decent amount of carbonation.

Aroma: It's not light on the hops as it has a really powerful grapefruit and floral aroma to it. A bit of caramel, and a hint of lemon also grace the beer. I can already taste the bitterness just from the aroma.

Taste: First impression of the IPA is it's an upfront bitter IPA, for those who like more of a hoppy IPA rather than a citrusy IPA. Not as near bitter as most West Coast IPAs I've had in the past, but still a nice amount of bitterness seen here. It's a floral bitterness with a bit of pine, and a tingling bitterness for aftertaste that will stick around for quite a while. The more I drink it, the more I notice the grapefruit that is quite dominating in the aroma. Not much sweetness to it, but as I try to decipher the flavours, I do notice a bit of a caramel sweetness, but not much. The overall theme of this IPA is piney & floral hops more than citrus.

Overall Thoughts: This may be one of the very first Manitoban hopped beers ever sold to the general public, and the impressions I'm getting from it is that yep, Manitoba can, in fact, grow hops, but it just needs much more tender love and care than in the Pacific North West. Portage and Main IPA is much more bitter than a Keith's fan would ever want (but KEITHS IS NOT AN IPA!), but for people who like a bitter IPA and appreciate some tasty hopiness, they will likely enjoy this beer as it puts hops first and foremost.

While I prefer a citrusy IPA on most days, for those days when I need hops to get rid of a cold, this will likely do the job. It has 60 IBU and 6.5% ABV.

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