Four Winds Brewing is back again in B.C. Beer Reviews with yet another adventurous take on an age-old style. The Blackberry Jam IPA takes a style more often known for bitterness and turns it on its head. This beer not only packs a decent punch at 6.5% ABV, but it also takes following its namesake to another level.
B.C. Beer Reviews with Nic Hendrickson: Four Winds Brewing – Blackberry Jam IPA
Four Winds is known for their hipster styles and fairly adventurous beers, and this one hits the adventurous mark spot on. They take a beer that is better known for its bitterness and makes it exponentially more palatable for all of the hop haters out there.
Let’s crack it open and see what it has to offer.
The beer being named blackberry jam pretty well explains what you see. There is a noticeable purple hue in the pour. In the glass, it looks like a liquid form of blackberry jam. A very appealing colour this beer that leaves you wanting to take a drink as quickly as possible.
This beer hits the mark again with its name in the nose/aroma. There is a lightly tart and somewhat sweet berry aroma in the nose. This is undeniably the first note you will get when taking a sniff of this beer.
Aside from the blackberry aroma, there is a noticeable sweetness that is very likely a byproduct of the lactose used. It is not strong and it is definitely a background note to the berry notes present throughout.
Overall, this is not an overly complex nose/aroma, but it does not have to be. It hits the name spot on, just like in the colour as well. And despite it being a one trick pony, it is a very pleasant aroma and is appealing to even the most adamant of hop haters out there.
Once again, the first note you get is the blackberry and sweet tones. The berry tastes are very smooth, offering a very smooth and lightly tart taste on your palate. Exactly what you would expect if you put a spoonful of blackberry jam in your mouth.
The other note present in this one is the smoothness and creamy notes you get from the lactose. It adds a very light creamy note to the finish of this beer. This works very nicely with the berry notes to keep it from being overly tart. Basically, it restrains the blackberry notes from being too powerful.
Surprisingly enough, there is very little perceptible bitterness coming from this beer. The can has it listed at 45 IBUs, but it certainly does not come off that way. It is definitely a good IPA to give to the bitter beer beginners.
The branding/labeling is very nice on this one. A shiny purple label that has lighter purple and green designs on it. It is rather simple, but still a very sharp looking label overall.
The head this beer pours could certainly be categorized as significant. The retention, however, is about as average as it comes. It does not stick around for long after you take your first drink of this one.
There is very little carbonation to this beer. Having very little perceivable crispness from the carbonation allows the lactose to dominate what is a very smooth and lightly creamy finish to this beer.
The amount of lacing from this one matches up perfectly with the level of perceived bitterness. There are small patches of it here and there on the glass, but it is hardly noticeable.
This beer looks, smells, and tastes like blackberry jam. Four Winds Brewing went for something here, and they hit the nail on the head. The low level of bitterness, combined with the low level of carbonation and smoothness from the lactose makes for a very smooth finish to this beer.
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Main photo by Nic Hendrickson, Lastword Inc., all rights reserved