So after my first exploration into Maltstrom Brasserie finally took place, I was able to snag a fresh can of their I.X.X.P.L des Priaries through some trading friends. Word on the street is this beer will not be making its return until fall this year, although you may not be able to get some at the moment, I wanted to take the time out to talk a little bit about this beer to elaborate on my recent article covering these new hop devils of Quebec. Our tendencies as beer explorers is always fixated on comparing a local beer to some of the greats, getting that “wow” factor. I often hear “It is a great DIPA but it is no Trillium” and trust me, I’m no angel myself. A lot of my exploration revolves around finding a local PA/IPA/DIPA that can satisfy my thirst without having to travel and spend extra money to snag something that really fills that emptiness in my gut. And there are many Quebec IPAs that can do that for me, even though they aren’t “Trillium.” So I try to analyze the beer I am drinking from an unbiased point of view, which can be difficult.
I moved to Canada from California five years ago and my needs for a really solid IPA were easily satisfied with the likes of Le Castor and Dieu Du Ciel. The game changer was my introduction into the beautiful state which shares a border with us, Vermont, and another lovely state not too far from us, Massachusetts. After consumption of IPAs from Lawsons, Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, Trillium, and Treehouse, additionally Other Half and Grimm from Brooklyn and Pipeworks and Three Floyds from Chicago and Munster, my opinions and taste buds were altered. With the taste of the Mid West IPA and the NEIPA, even the Californian beers that I onced wooned over didn’t have much of an impact. Although the likes of Russian River and many others are still solid IPAs, they just didn’t have that glorious mouth feel and tropical fruity zing that their eastern counterparts have perfected. And since my introduction into some of these amazing world class IPAs I am now on a new search for an IPA/DIPA from Quebec that shivers my timbers. And I can say with some great confidence that Maltstrom Brasserie had my bones shivering, and it wasn’t the winter! I was truly impressed by their beers in the aroma, taste and the feeling in my bones.
After the first smell and the first taste of the I.X.P.L, palpitations in my heart began to create a beat, they started to sing, started to dance and my heartstrings came undone. This was the beer that would do it for me, this was the beer I would seek out 2 four packs of, like I would Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine. And then came along the I.X.X.P.L. And I ask the lord and Malstrom Brasserie, “Please sir, may I have some more?”
I.X.X.P.L des Prairies
Imperial Strong Pale Lager || ABV: 8.6% || IBU: 50
It has some strength to the nose, and some tropical hops in the background. Taste to me is more bitter and strong with very light notes of tropical hops. But not too strong and bitter that it’s hard to drink or that it takes over the beer. Still drinks pretty smooth and still a very different hoppy DIPA style as compared to some of the other DIPAs out there from Quebec. Now this isn’t technically a DIPA, because it is an imperial pale lager. But this is what a DIPA should taste like, feel like and smell like for me. I personally prefer the IXPL over this one, just because the IXPL has crazy notes of tropical hops, but this beer just gets better and better over time. The bitterness and strength is supremely light as you have each sip. Just an all round solid brew, not too bold of an aroma, but such a great flavour, hoppy tropical backbone and balanced bitterness and a super clean finish, superb! And it’s a fucking dangerous beer it really hits you fucking hard, because it’s so good and flavorful you just keep indulging yourself sip after sip. I find most of the time, it is not the alcohol that I crave (Thank god, because that would make me an alchy), but it’s the flavour, the effervescent experience that really sends me flying to the moon. Kind of like a sugar tooth which craves a delicious dessert. I crave the taste of a good beer. The flavour is what sends that euphoric feeling rushing through my body… or maybe it’s the alcohol, especially with an 8.6% abv, easy drinking beer like this sometimes you can’t tell the difference. Rehab? Uhhhh………….. well it’s kind of like the introduction from Tenacious D.. Because I wrote it and it’s the truth! Followed by a gracious respectful bow, keep it up Maltstrom, you lads are doing grand!
Words + Photography by Hopcitizen