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A pair of double IPAs today from the Great White South-Of-Here: Collective Arts in Toronto. Both have been hanging around in local off licence fridges for several months now but are still within date, and sure freshness is overrated anyway.

First up is Good Monster at 8% ABV. Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic and Simcoe is a promising line-up of classic hops, and it wears the New England badge, pouring an innocent hazy pale yellow. The aroma is fun, and not very New Englandy, with a mixture of lime candy, jaffa zest and a sterner grapefruit rind. It's a very not-juicy citrus combination. The texture is light and fizzy at first, but after a second the slick and hefty mouthfeel arrives, and with it a clean, blue-flame, alcohol burn. The hops are carried along on this, still with the citrus zest, but I detect also a wave of Mosaic's softer tropical side: passionfruit and mango. There's a little boiled-sweet malt as well, suggesting a gap where some of the hoping may have faded, but it's still very enjoyable. The flavour profile is one I associate more with easy-drinker session IPAs, and I liked how the obvious strength made me take it slowly and savour it. It's a quality piece of work overall and I give full credit to the specific hop combination for making it sing.

A slight boost in ABV and a simplification of the hop bill brings us Surround Sound: Lotus at 8.2% ABV. It's a similar pale and hazy shade; possibly a bit denser looking, or maybe that's just the glass. There's a little of that boiled sweet effect in the aroma, suggesting again some dear departed hops. The flavour has a decent wallop of bitterness, plus that edgy alcohol burn, but not so much of the hop flavour itself. Lotus is not among my favourite hops -- more to do with unfamiliarity than any distaste -- and this isn't the beer to convince me of its virtues. There's a certain orange and lemon candy or sherbet but nothing especially pronounced. The bitterness is the only factor which renders it acceptably IPAish. It's fine. It's a clean hazy double IPA, and not all of them can say that. A lack of complexity is to be expected from single-hop beers.

I don't often drink back-to-back double IPAs but this pair made the task easy for me. I liked how they both left no doubt as to their strength but never turned hot or sticky or cloying. Something for all DIPA brewers to aspire to, I think.