Review: Four Winds Phaedra Belgian Style Rye IPA

The first time I ever tried Delta, BC's Four Winds Brewing was actually at Brasserie Dunham's 1st annual Foudres Unis back in August. Prior to that, I purchased a bottle of Four Winds' Phaedra Belgian-style Rye IPA a few months earlier. Actually, I thought I lost the bottle until I was sorting through a box for beers to send to a friend and Phaedra re-appeared!

Phaedra is a Belgian-style Rye IPA that tops out at 7.2% ABV and 65 IBUs.
The description on the label: From the Greek word phaidros, meaning “bright”, Phaedra is bottled luster. Aromas of shimmering citrus and mellowing melon succeeded by lofty measures of Belma and Citra yet grounded by wheat and rye.

Appearance: Pours a nice, hazy orange with a sprinkling of sediment in the glass, very good amount of carbonation coming from all sides. The head is thick, frothy and off-white - it gradually diminishes yet leaves behind a liberal amount of bubbles along the side the glass.. more than most beer lacings.

Aroma: My very initial impression was that it was a mildly bitter beer with a nice citrus presence to it. The rye malt isn't too overpowering in the aroma profile but it does give off a bit of that typical rich toasty bitterness that rye fans know and love. There's a mild Belgiany yeast presence in there - a bit sweet and a hint of bubble gum. There's a hint of pepper, a decent fruity and tropical presence (melon? pineapple, lemon). The hop presence is pretty much floral yet mildly bitter to compliment the rye malt notes so far.

Taste: Quite sweet and tropical right from the get go. I get a bit of a candi sugar sort of flavour to it, followed by notes of tropical fruits (orange, lemon, perhaps a smidge of lime). The rye is pretty muted this time around but I do notice it once in a while, and when I do it's a subtle toasted flavour that hits middle-to-back of the tongue. There's a bit of a nice pepper flavour popping up once in a while, it's really complimenting the fruity notes of this beer really well.

As the beer warms up a bit, the rye malt starts to become more prominent in almost every sip - not as sweet and tropical, but still pretty sweet and tropical, but with more of a toastiness and a smidge of pepper for bite.

Overall Thoughts: This is only the third beer I've ever had by Four Winds with the other two being small 2.5oz samples I had at Foudres Unis - but everything I've had from them has been absolutely spectacular so far. I know one day they'll be in Manitoba - I'm sure Chris over at the Quality Inn Craft Beer Store in Winnipeg will be eyeing their beer for his store one of these days. This is one of the better Belgian-style IPAs I've had in many years - it has a decent Belgian yeastiness that I know and love, but it also has some moderate hop presence and combined with rye malt.. it's a darn tasty beer. It's not overly Belgiany nor overly IPAish like a lot of this style can be.. this.. I like a lot!

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