If you had to take the name of your brewery and find a cool pun to describe your flagship Double IPA, Tin Cannon absolutely nailed it. Twin Cannons could refer to so much – a double blast of hops, florals, bitterness, fruit, malts, or just a double tap to the ole noggin when the warmth of the alcohol finally sets in. It was one of my favorite discoveries at a beer festival a few years ago, but just a sheer loathing of trying to slog out I-66 to Gainesville kept my snobbish self away for a while. That’s what 20 years of construction, traffic jams, and slow weekend drivers will do to you. Yes, they’ve fixed a lot of that and a new interstate widening extension should clear up the final bits of traffic, but any mention of “driving” and “Gainesville” has for years set off an almost reverse Pavlovian response mechanism. Thankfully, a need to stop by a friend’s house about a mile from the Tin Cannon taproom set me straight. This beer needs to be tried, and this is one brewery that absolutely deserves your time – whatever your excuse for dropping by or driving through Gainesville.
Twin Cannons, Tin Cannon Brewing Co. (Gainesville, VA)
Double IPA, 8.9% ABV, 85 IBU
[Note: Due to some friendly copyright negotiations, Tin Cannon held a social media campaign to replace the name “Twin Cannons” back in February 2018. The beer may be changing its name to “Cease Fire” sometime soon.]
Presentation: Can pour into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Just be careful not to tip the darn thing over…
Appearance: Varying shades of orange even under the same light source – burnt, candied, even pale. The frothy pour leaves some occasional lacing.
Taste: A sweet nose, almost like a pastry shop with a range of subtle sugars. I don’t mean one of those “candy” retailers that have everything in boxes, but the confectioners who do everything on premise and package everything for you as your order it. The body is all big toffee malts as it hits your tongue, sweet again in a Werther’s sense. “Big, malty, and hoppy” reads the can, and that’s no lie as a late blast of bitterness provides an undertow to some rich florals. This is a full-bodied beer that packs every possible punch it can within its ABV and IBUs.
Mouth Feel: Despite the rich malty goodness, it mostly coats the back of the mouth thanks to that finish. Truly and delicately balanced.
Overall: A sweeter version of a West Coast DIPA, and that’s very much a good thing. I honestly didn’t get one bit of fruit, but that malt backbone is simply stellar. Some candied orange, even if just an aroma, to match those beautiful colors would put this beer over the top. If a beer like this doesn’t draw you down I-66 into Gainesville, I’m not sure what else would…because catching some playoff sports in the Tin Cannon taproom is an absolute blast!