The latest addition to the Ontario craft beer scene was finally revealed on Saturday as Double Trouble Brewing brought their Hops and Robbers IPA to the Burger Bar. As with many other upstart breweries, Double Trouble is contract brewed out of the Wellington facilities in Guelph. Claude Lefebvre, who runs North American Craft, and Nathan Dunsmoor cover the business end of the brewery, while Paul Dickey (Cheshire Valley, among others) brews the beer.
The beer is pretty much what you expect from an IPA by Paul Dickey – a solid, sessionable ale that tastes good from the first sip to the end of your second (or third) pint. The malt bill seems lighter than a lot of other IPAs coming out in Ontario. Hops and Robbers has a nice golden hue to it and a honey graham cracker flavour upfront. This gives way to an assertive pine finish and a moderate level of bitterness that is perfect for the malt profile. I always find that one measure of a good IPA is whether it keeps making you go back for that next sip, which Hops and Robbers definitely does. Nothing sexy about the beer, but who cares when it is this tasty.
One thing I’m curious to see is how Hops and Robbers manages to differentiate itself in an increasingly larger hop market. The branding is nice, but it will take a lot of work to get into bars and reach out to drinkers. This will be another interesting test to see if the pale ale market still has room for growth in Ontario.