Fuggles & Warlock Valis Imperial IPA
I consider myself to be one of the biggest fans of Unibroue in the world and I've met others who consider themselves the biggest fans of other breweries in the world.. but only ONE friend of mine was such a super fan of a brewery that he ended up working for them. My awesome buddy Chris was such a big fan of Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks in Richmond BC that when he got a job working for the brewery he loved the most, he was absolutely giddy with joy! Fuggles & Warlocks first arrived in Manitoba only a week or two after their tasting room first opened up last spring and I was instantly wowed by their The Last Strawberry Witbier, to me - it tasted like a Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino, absolutely creamy and fruity!
Today it's all about Fuggles & Warlock's Valis Imperial IPA, a New England influenced Imperial IPA/DIPA from their Experimental IPA series with 9.0% ABV, burusting with aromas of oranges, apricots, stone fruit, tropical citrus, and a dank, yet floral bouquet. Featuring the golden hop and El Dorado Hops. 68 IBU.
Appearance: I'll be flat out blunt, I've been really lucky lately and been able to source some New England (Vermont/Massachusetts) IPAs that everyone is wanting to try right now so I'm kind of a snob about it sometimes. The appearance of this IPA is a golden honey appearance with a lot of carbonation in the beer itself, a light amount of cloudiness, and a mild amount of beige-ish foam on top.
Aroma: This simply smells AMAZING! The very first thing that I get from this beer is the sweet, fruity, tropical notes of pineapple, orange zest, kiwi and a slight hint of grapefruit. This is a really fruit-up-front IPA and this is more sweet than bitter in every instance so far.
Taste: The first thing that pops out in the flavour is a hint of pine to it - which is nice to see in an IPA in this day and age.. kind of rare sometimes. For the majority of the beer, it's fruity and bready. There's a lot of tropical fruit notes that I already described in the aroma - pineapple especially, with a cameo by orange peel zest, a hint of grapefruit and a bit of a sweet honey biscuit flavour at the end.
Overall Thoughts: Every brewery in every part of the world is trying to create the BEST New England IPA and aside from Heady Topper, it's all about tropical flavours and a bit of a honey biscuit vibe to it. This one really does fit in the category well, it's not as sweet and juicy as some - I find some New England IPAs are too juice-forward so this hits right on the point for my tastebuds, it's sweet and tropical but not overly sweet to the point where it's like I'm drinking Tang. This is the second best New England IPA I've ever had by a Canadian brewery, with the first being the limited Codename: Ghost IPA by Half Pints Brewing - that one was absolutely perfect. I love the label on Valis Imperial IPA because it gives off a comic book feel of a super villain who is on his day off not knowing what to do.
Lastly, I'm the kind of IPA drinker who prefers bitter, floral and more piney based IPAs but I do like the surgence in popularity to these tropical New England IPAs because I love an almost-desserty IPA once in a while.. as if this should be a sherbert.