Beer: Wells IPA
Brewery: Wells and Young's (Bedford, England)
Maybe my palate is getting more refined, or perhaps I'm just getting more snooty in my years, but I distinctly remember liking this beer last time I had it. It certainly fit the bill of my typical drinking fare in my late undergrad/early master's years - English, IPA, badass logo. In either case, on a recent trip to the LCBO I needed one more can to fill my 8 pack and thought I'd give it another go. Wells and Young's also happens to produce one of my favorite brews of all time - Young's Double Chocolate Stout - so I figured their other stuff should be reasonably good.
I guess memory didn't serve too well.
Wells IPA started off on good footing: it poured a dark amber hue, almost dark ale-ish, but certainly not outside the boundaries of the IPA style. Left a generous head, which had remarkable staying power and left a good amount of lacing.
And that's about all the positives for this beer that I can muster. The nose is unpleasant and off-putting. Very tinny and metallic. I'm very aware that this brew came from a can, is how I'd describe it. Like saplings in the rainforest, the hop character of this brew is overshadowed by the unpleasant tinny canopy of awfulness. Not only is this brew not smelling right, it's not demonstrating any of the usual characteristics of IPAs.
The taste isn't much better. The malts come through very strongly at first, and then it's all tin. Another BeerAdvocate review described the flavor as bloodlike, and I very much agree; you can almost taste the hemoglobin. The finish is metallic and bitter. Very little to speak of in terms of hop character (no usual suspects of tart citrus or spicy resin), and for an IPA, that's a bad thing. Unpleasant, and hard to finish.
A very disappointing brew, and one I certainly will avoid in the future and will caution you to do the same. There are much better IPA's out there, mostly from the States but a few solid Canadian ones, that taste a great deal better (i.e., not like you're drinking a beer after having badly cut your gums). Don't bother on this one, folks. (Grade: D)