Tom Edenbrow’s IPA Day 2011 Tasting Session @ The Captain Cook Brewery, The White Swan

Captain Cook Brewery supremo Matt Power surveys his epic (yeah, epic!) collection of brews.

When Matt told me about the IPA he was going to brew a couple of months back, he said it was to coincide with IPA Day 2011. The other day Matt asked me whether I was bobbing down The White Swan tomorrow. I asked why? He replied it’s IPA Day… Game on.


St Lawrence River IPA. Captain Cook’s Brewery. ABV 5.1%

  • Hopped with English, New Zealand & American varieties.
  • Predominantly pale malts.
  • Taurified wheat to aid head retention and mouth feel.

Will St Lawrence River stick as a new regular brew for The Captain Cook Brewery? I ask this not just because it fits well within their current range due to its differing taste and strength to the other brews, but simply cos it’s so good.

It’s marketed as heavily hopped, but it has a lot more going for it than just that. It smells candied which isn’t a trait shared by other C.C.B. brews, but unlike the candied smell of other modern style IPAs I like, the taste differs from the norm. It has the hop but also holds creaminess and weight. Orange peel from the Pacifica hops and a little heat builds well on the aftertaste. The initial balanced sweetness, later on in the glass it almost builds up too much, but doesn’t step over the line.

Becoming quite complex now… I’m getting  whisky notes and echoes of other high volume drinks such as liqueurs, but can’t put my finger on which one! Brilliantly balanced bitterness and it’s still tasting ’round’ at the end of the glass.

Say If I had never heard of  The Captain Cook Brewery and I had tasted this IPA as a guest ale elsewhere, well I’d put it down as a brewery to check out big-time. In my IPA tasting experience, St Lawrence River IPA rates as world class with a strong identity of its own.

St Lawrence River lasts well too. I’ve had a sup on the same cask: fresh on and a few days later. The taste changes during this time in an interesting way. It’s perhaps preferable fresh, but is fine and dandy later on also.


Imperial Pale Ale IPA. Milestone Brewing Co. ABV 4.8%

It’s a bit different, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bit thin on taste. It’s a brown amber colour, the colour mirroring the taste which is nutty and smooth. It could please some drinkers palates, but marketing it as an IPA seems a bit wrong due to its overall lack of taste.

Bitterness picks up a bit as the glass goes on. I’m a bit stuck for words. It’s boring, flat and doesn’t do what it says on the tin. It does have a pleasant dryness and the aftertaste is decent. Milestone could re-brand/re-market a similar and improved recipe.

I usually find myself the ‘big bad’. Rubbishing beers I don’t like and being hypercritical, but today I’m the one who’s looking for (and finding!) positives while those around me are rubbishing this beer. Not a popular beer in The White Swan today.


Schooner Grenville. Captain Cook’s Brewery. ABV 4.7%

OK, so it’s about as far away from an IPA as possible (remember this was IPA Day!) but I’ve tasted Schooner Grenville a good few times now and it’s about time I blogged it. It turns out it’s a good day to write about this superior stout as it’s tasting mega, as good as I’ve tasted it. The epitome of a great milky quality in an alcoholic beverage. Subtle dark fruits. Has beer like characteristics as well as the opposing liquorice characteristics of a stout. For me anyway, Schooner Grenville kinda makes C.C.B.’s Black Porter redundant.

Clean tasting and that milkiness keeps on winning. Dryness and sweetness balanced.

Captain Cook Brewery 


  1. […] ages as I was big fan of Matt’s beers before. You can read about some of his beers here and here. Brewery Internals Cooler System Plenty of casks to get started […]

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