Craft beer is awesome! Backcountry Brewing's Trailbreaker Pale Ale

Backcountry’s Trailbreaker Pale Ale. Rob Mangelsdorf photo

Squamish’s Backcountry Brewing was one of the big winners at the B.C. Beer Awards last weekend, which, if you’re familiar with their beer or their story, should come as no surprise. These dudes (and dudettes) have been knocking it out of the park since they opened earlier this year.

Backcountry took home the coveted Rookie of the Year award for best new brewery, and a gold for their Trailbreaker Pale Ale in the extremely competitive North American IPA category, beating out 59 other entries. They also won a pair of silvers for North American IPA and German Pale Lager, as well as the Best Social Media Presence award.

Brewmaster John Folinsbee is well known in the B.C. craft beer community from his time at Steamworks Brewing, where he was the mastermind behind their award-winning Flagship IPA.

Trailbreaker is very much in the same vein as Flagship – as well as Backcountry’s fantastic silver medal-winning Widowmaker IPA – and in many ways is a sessionable version of these two stronger IPAs.

The haze craze is in full effect here and the beer pours an opaque golden straw colour, with a persistent egg-white head. Citrus, pine and passion fruit loom large thanks to generous quantities of Citra, Simcoe and Chinook hops, and the chewy body of the beer gives it a really lovely coating mouthfeel.

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to categorize this as an East Coast-style pale ale. It has the haziness and juiciness down, but the flavour profile definitely has that West Coast citrusy, piney character to it. It’s the best of both worlds, really.

It’s really well balanced, too. It’s flavourful, but it’s not going to blast your palate to smithereens. Unlike a lot of other stronger and bitterer (is that a word?) IPAs, Trailbreaker has that lovely quality the British like to call “moreish” – it’s an easy beer to drink a lot of.


Backcountry Brewing’s Trailbreaker Pale Ale (5.0% ABV, 35 IBU)


Colour: Hazy golden straw, fluffy white head

Aroma: Citrus, Grapefruit, pine, passion fruit

Flavour: Its all hops with this one. Grapefruit, citrus, pine, tropical fruit, passion fruit, melon, herbal, very little malt character and mild/medium hop bitterness.

Body: Full bodied and coating, medium carbonation, with a dry and slightly lingering finish

Pairs with: Pad thai, key lime pie and daydreaming about tropical vacations you’re never going to go on.




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