Granville Island: Van Dame White ISA (Canada: Session IPA: 4.5% ABV)
Visual: Hazy pineapple to lemon juice colour. Small white dash of a head that leaves some suds.
Nose: Really fresh lemon. Light cream and coriander. Pineapple.
Body: Moderate wheaty bitterness. Unleavened bread. Soft avocado. Good hop prickle. Pineapple. Lemon pavlova.
Finish: Good bitterness. Pepper. Soft avocado. Lightly earthy. Wheaty. Pineapple.
Conclusion: Session IPA meet white IPA. Oddly, despite my usual grumbles about the amount of adjectives used with IPA this one does not set off any alarms for me. maybe it is because things have got so insane over the years (Double Session IPA for one…).
Anyway, it works as an interesting mix, you can sense that kind of unleavened bread dryness that is the flavour in a lot of session IPAs, but that is underneath – up front it has that wheaty fresh character that makes the whole thing more manageable. Similarly the light spice associated with the wit style does a lot to round out the beer. It isn’t a perfect match, but I will say that it seems like a genuine way to take the session IPA forwards and give it some real legs.
I think it is because it adds a lot of range to what can be quite one note beers. The lemon wit characteristic work well with the comparatively restrained hop flavour to give a less intense but well ranging flavour profile.
Overall it doesn’t quite overcome the oft found flaws of session IPAs, that base character needs to be a bit less leaden, but it definitely works very well with it. The bitterness does build up nicely over time, slow enough to take your time with, but it doesn’t rely on just that to overcome the weak base.
Not the best, but, as I say, this definitely seems like a way to take the style forwards, and it is on the better end of session IPAs to say the least.
Background: As well as 4.5% abv this has an OG of 10.9 and 50 IBU. I do love how much info they give you in Canada. It is also very noticeably influenced by the Belgian wit beer style. Granville Island in Vancouver was awesome, tons of experiences and foodstuff to try. Including the ever addictive Nanaimo bars. At the taphouse I tried a few beers, but with a name like Van Dame this had to be the one I tasting noted.