B.C. Beer Reviews with Nic Hendrickson: Northpaw Brewing – Jamaican Pale Ale

Northpaw Brewing

There is a new brewery on the block and they are calling Port Coquitlam their home. Northpaw Brewing is not only the new kid on the block in B.C., but they are also the first brewery in Port Coquitlam. And while they are putting the beer out, their beers are currently being brewed at Craft Collective Beerworks, known formerly as Factory Brewing.

B.C. Beer Reviews: Northpaw Brewing – Jamaican Pale Ale

While there is no specific style called a Jamaican Pale Ale, this beer tries to bring out the Jamaican culture by using spices to shake things up a bit. Let’s see how it turned out.

Colour

This beer pours a deep amber-brown colour that fits the American Pale SRM nicely. It is the same deep amber-brown in the glass. The clarity of this brew is also quite nice. You can’t see through it perfectly, but it is still quite a clear brew.

Nose/Aroma

This beer smacks you in the face with its spice aromatics right off the bat. It is hard to put a finger on it, but there are notes of star anise, ginger and possibly even cinnamon. The aromatics of this beer are quite powerful and you definitely get what Northpaw Brewing was going for.

The major downside to this is that it overpowers the malt/grain bill and the hop presence of this beer. An American Pale Ale should have more of a hop presence to it, and this one might if the aromatics of the spice weren’t dominating the nose/aroma.

Overall, it is a nice smelling brew but it does not have the hop aromatics that you would like from the style. There is also little to no malt and grain aroma.

Tasting Notes

This beer has much of the same notes on your palate as it did in the aromatics. With the taste the spices start to come off more as star anise, having a light liquorice taste on the back end of each sip. These are undeniably the strongest notes of the beer.

However, unlike the aromatics, this one is not one dimensional. There is a smooth and sweet note that is from the malt/grain bill.

On the back end of each sip is a light spicy herbal note. It is hard to distinguish as to whether this is from the spices or the hops used, but it helps to balance out the beer nicely and to come closer to fit in with an American Pale Ale stylistically.

Other Notes

The branding/labeling fits the name of the beer. It is a deep maroon label with accents of yellow, green and black, the colours of the Jamaican flag. This is complimented by big bold cream coloured lettering writing out Northpaw Brewing and their compass-style logo is the same colour.

The body of this beer is rather light but smooth. The malt/grain bill combined with the spices creates a bit of body, but it is not anything significant.

As for the head this beer pours it is nothing short of significant. The retention of that head is extremely impressive. It sticks around for as long as you let it.

There is a significant amount of lacing on the glass from this beer as well. Thick patches of lacing coat the glass from top to bottom.

Final Grade

The aromatics of this beer is rather one dimensional with the spices dominating. The tasting notes add a bit of character to this brew. And while the spices are at the forefront again on your palate, the malt/grain bill and the spicy herbal note at the end of each sip help to balance this brew out.

Grade: 6.9/10

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Main photo by Nic Hendrickson, Lastword Inc., all rights reserved

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