Howe Sound Brewing, one of the originators of the local micro-brew movement, located in Squamish. Some of these are from visits to their fine brew-pub, but mainly they revolve around visits to the liquor store in 100 Mile House. 100 Mile is a small town in the interior of BC that many people have never heard of, and few of those who have ever found reason to stop there. It is where I have spent much of the last three summers stationed as a wildfire fighter. I'll say it now, 100 Mile is no Victoria. In regards to beer this means that domestic lager is the norm, and anything outside the norm... well, let's just say they don't much like those sorts of things up there.
Thus, when I discovered the local liquor store (which closes at 6 by the way) actually carried Howe Sound's Devil's Elbow IPA, it was like a chorus of angels had broken into song right there under the florescent lights. Now some friends of mine have said how little they like Howe Sound's brews and that the Devil's Elbow is sub-par. This may be true, I honestly can't seem to separate it from the memory of all those domestic lagers surrounding it on the shelves, and by comparison, it seemed magic.
On a recent trip to Cook Street Village Liquor I saw the new Imperial IPA from Howe Sound was available, so I took this opportunity to try it in a more competitive environment than 100 Mile can provide. This Imperial IPA, which goes by the wordy title of Total Eclipse of the Hop weighs in at a hefty 8% abv and comes in the same 1 litre swing-top bottles that all Howe Sound's beers are packaged in. It is a brilliantly clear, nearly reddish dark amber colour, and has a thick, nicely uneven head that is very long-lasting. Its aroma is surprisingly malty with only a light hop character to it. The flavour of this beer is overwhelmed by the presence of extremely grassy hops. It has a fairly bitter finish but this also carries the taste of more strong grass flavours. I really didn't enjoy this beer very much, it was too much like drinking a freshly cut lawn, but if you like that kind of thing, then you'd probably like this beer.