Nelson Brewing Co. Column: What’s old is new again

About 60 per cent of all craft beer sold in BC is an IPA.

The India Pale Ale has come a very long way from its beginnings in the 19th century when breweries in England were shipping beer to India and dealing with the long voyages.

Many styles of beer were being shipped, but a few breweries discovered that using more hops (a natural preservative) and increased alcohol content allowed the beer to make the long voyage and arrive in better shape. The end result became a favourite in India and thus the India Pale Ale style of brewing took hold. Just how important is the IPA to craft brewing? About 60 per cent of all craft beer sold in BC is an IPA. This month we focus on the English Style IPAs that got the whole movement started here in the first place.


Paddy Whack IPA – Nelson Brewing Company

In 2003, NBC entered Paddy Whack in the Canadian Brewing Awards. It took home the gold medal for best IPA in the country, we never entered it again.

First off, it’s no beginner’s beer! Paddy Whack packs a punch of hop aromas and flavours that have a powerful but pleasant mouth feel and after taste.

It’s a well balanced English style IPA that might not be the hoppiest beer on the market and that’s exactly why it sells so well to this day. As Pacific Northwest breweries push the boundaries further and further making bitter hoppy beers that some find undrinkable it’s nice to know some things don’t need to change.


Devil’s Elbow – Howe Sound Brewing Company

Another great English Style IPA, Devil’s Elbow has that traditional malty back bone and great balance that makes this beer a fan favourite. It pours great and leaves a nice lacing in the glass as you down your pint. It is an assertive ale that is heavily-bittered and dry-hopped providing an intensive aroma and is brewed using selected English and North American barley and hops. It is named for the dramatic Grade 4 Devil’s Elbow rapid on the Elaho River.

Interesting side note: Howe Sound is one of the breweries that NBC Brewmaster Mike Kelly used to work for.


Nasty Habit – Mt Begbie

“A generously hopped IPA, balanced by a blend of rich specialty malts and pure mountain water,” states the brewery’s website. Of the three beers, this one had the least amount of nose. It wasn’t quite as floral as the other two. It poured great though with a deep amber colour; clear; solid, tan head with good length. Woody pine, citrus, rich nutty elements, and a wonderful bread-like malt aroma make this a nice addition to any IPA tasting and is a must draft choice when in Revelstoke!


All three of these beers are staples all over BC and for good reason — they taste great, are well balanced and show that more hops isn’t always the answer.


The Nelson Brewing Company Column appears monthly in {vurb}.

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