Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale

I've had a glass with this beer's logo on it for 4+ years, so I FINALLY get to drink said beer from said glass! Many thanks go out to for sending me this beer. This review also concludes all-IPA week here on Chad'z Beer Reviews in which we tried three American, one Italian and one Canadian beer in the India Pale Ale style. I've never had a Canadian IPA before, how would a beer of that style from our neighbors to north turn out?

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (617) - Albany, USA - DEC 12, 2010
A lot of beers fail to live up to the hyperbole on their labels or not being good examples of their styles. But what about a beer that does both in epic fashion? That’s the case with Canadian macro brewer Alexander Keith’s "India Pale Ale." I put the term in quotes because this beer is most definitely NOT an IPA by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a macro lager plain and simple. And while it’s not the worst example of THAT style, it’s still a mediocre beer anyway.

I got a 16oz can from a friend in Canada. I poured it in the official stout-like glass for this beer I got when visiting Halifax a few years ago.

Appearance: Umm... what? Rarely are IPAs this pale yellow and clear - this looks exactly like a pilsner. It’s straw-colored, crystal clear, and highly effervescent. Forms a bright white, creamy head that leaves minor lacing and retention.

Aroma: Ummm.... what? This smells like a macro adjunct lager without the repulsive qualities. There’s a slight bready scent, some hops, plus grain and corn, but otherwise it’s unremarkable.

Taste: The palate here is a clean, crisp taste with very minor bitterness. There’s a touch of creaminess to the body, surprisingly. Mostly it’s watery and refreshing, but overtly bland. It reminds me of how pilsners are taste without the green bottle skunk. Why the brewery has the audacity to label this an "IPA" is beyond me. There is little to no presence of hop here. No citrus, pine or floral flavors or aromas. As it warms it turns a tad sour and tangy. It’s never repulsive per se, but there’s just nothing to really like about the flavor here.

Mouthfeel: thin, crisp, and very fizzy.

Drinkability: Smooth and quaffable. At only 5% ABV this is way too light in body to even be considered a pale ale, let alone and IPA. Refreshing to be sure, but then again so is Keystone Light.

Overall, a beer that would be much more respectable if it was labeled properly as the macro lager it is. I bet a lot of drinkers would reach for this over a Molson, Labatt or most American lagers of the sort.
Grade: 4/10


  1. "No IPA is ever this pale or yellow. IPAs are always orange"

    Actually, quite a few British IPAs are pale yellow, Thornbridge Jaipur to name but one.

    I'd imagine historically they have as much right to call their beer an IPA as anyone does. The name can be applied to pretty much any pale ale, as far as I can see. The original IPAs certainly wouldn't have had the hop flavours you describe as those hop varieties hadn't been invented at the time.

    1. It's rare an IPA is THAT pale yellow and that clear. Even the yellow ones are at least hazy.

      They could call it and IPA if it were actually an ale, but it's not, it's a lager. So no, they don't have a right to name it that. It's just as accurate to call it a Russian Imperial Stout.