Review: Brazen Hall Gokstad IPA

This marks the first time I've ever reviewed anything by Winnipeg's Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery. I've been at the brewery many times trying whatever beers they have on tap and chatting with the awesome Jeremy the brewer if he's around and not busy. Recently Brazen Hall started to can their beer so that it could be sold in beer stores and Liquor Marts, and in the past few weeks their beer finally made its way to Western Manitoba. Their Black Ink Dark Ale made an appearance at one of the Brandon LCs last week, so I picked up a can and expect to review it sooooon, while today's review, Gokstad IPA, was found at the LC in Virden of all places - a Liquor Mart not known for really having much made-in-Manitoba options but they've brought in a bunch of Winnipeg breweries recently, so times are changing!

From the can: Gokstad IPA - This IPA is named after a famous Viking Warship built in 900AD. Similar to the ways that these versatile ships could slip seamlessly through any waters, our strong IPA can appeases any beer drinker, from the well versed to the fresh-to-the-party.

Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo hops are used with a heavy hand to import floral notes of citrus, pine and resin. A toasty, lightly caramel malt backbone supports it all to provide wonderful balance and a great flavour. Lingering bitterness and a n incredible aroma beg you to have another sip.. or pint! 6.5% ABV / 65 IBU.

Appearance: A bit murky appearance to it, pours a dark caramel-amber ale body with a light amount of carbonation on the body. The head is fairly minimal with a bit of a beige foam on top of the glass. The head diminishes a tad, leaving behind a small sprinkling of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Quite a malt-forward IPA that gives off a hefty dose of caramel in every single sniff, followed by a floral presence (alfalfa) and bitter, piney presence from the hops. Mild notes of grapefruit and lemon, more sweet than bitter.

Taste: Like in the aroma, we get a sweet, malt forward IPA again. There's notes of caramel/toffee, a hint of molasses, a bit of apple peel flavour, and then we get a lot of hops popping out - pine, grapefruit, lemon, slight floral, slight woody. Good amount of dryness for mouthfeel, while the aftertaste is pretty darn aggressive with the taste of apple peels and a bit of pine/wood.

Overall Thoughts: Quite a sweet, malt-forward IPA, definitely more aggressive than the can states but definitely not as bitter as your typical Manitoban IPAs so if someone's looking for more of a caramel/malt-forward IPA, they will likely enjoy this. Bit reminiscent of an Amber Ale but with a heavy hop presence to it, unfiltered and very cloudy, sweet yet bitter.

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