Although I don’t know who Mad Tom is, or why he’s got his dander up, I do enjoy Muskoka Brewery’s new India Pale Ale named in his honour. Mad Tom is billed as a traditional India Pale Ale, meaning a full-flavoured, lip-smacking romp through hop-ville. In this case, a dry hopping with Cascade and Centennial varieties is used to help complement the citrus and floral notes.
In the past, India Pale Ales were fortified with extra flavour, aroma and alcohol to survive the trip from England to India. And, in keeping with this tradition, Mad Tom boasts 6.4 per cent alcohol content and 64 on the IBU meter. With the American hops, and high bitterness, it is safe to describe Mad Tom as a fine example of an American IPA, and one of the better ones you might find in the province.
On first pour, Mad Tom packs an aromatic punch with a clear copper appearance and a slight cloudiness. The first taste is sharp on the tongue, with lingering citrus notes that provide a flavourful and dry finish. Mad Tom would make an ideal match with a spicy little number on the grill this summer: think Thai shrimp, or a nice peppercorn steak.
“We’re not concerned about selling volume,” explains Mike Laba of the brewery. “We chose to make a beer with flavour respecting the IPA tradition.”
Sold in six packs of 355 ml bottles and available through the LCBO and The Beer Store, Mad Tom is the fourth product offering from Muskoka Brewery, established in the cottage country town of Bracebridge in 1996. Other craft beers produced by Muskoka include a solid lager and cream ale.
The Beer Necessities is a bi-weekly column by Ron Johnson, editor of Post City Magazines.