people, a good brewery always deserves a second chance, I say. That being
the case, I decided the other day to pick up a six-pack of Heavy Seas
Loose Cannon Triple Hopped Ale. You see, I had bought a six-pack of
another beer in the Heavy Seas line,
Peg Leg Imperial
Stout , and found it lacking. Very much so.
Heavy Seas is really just a brand produced by the Clipper City Brewing
Company, a line of big and intense brews for true connoisseurs. I didn’t
find that to be the case with Peg Leg, and if you read that review you’ll
As it turns out, fate is sometimes strange, and I got to try Loose Cannon in
two different forms. Here I was, typing out this review, and ready to post
it. But as I like to keep my Gmail open, I chanced to receive an
e-mail from Summits Wayside Tavern. They would be having the very same beer
I was drinking this Friday next, but on cask no less! And in a firkin on the
bar. Heaven, indeed.
Cask ale is special ale indeed. It is conditioned in its serving vessel, and
not force carbonated with carbon dioxide as most beers you drink on draft
are. It can be served by a hand pump or straight from a cask set on the bar,
a “firkin” that allows gravity to dispense the divine nectar from the
As it happens, I got to try this beer both ways. So, let’s look at the
bottled product first:
Loose Cannon Triple Hopped Ale pours to a bright orange color with a
light and creamy head formation and a spicy, perfumey floral hop nose. A
quick sip reveals a rather light malt body that has a touch of chewy
caramel, but not as much as I had expected for a beer of this strength (7.5%
by volume). A toasty malt flavor from the Munich malt can be picked up, too.
There are a lot of hops here. They start out with a spicy floral character,
then the palate begins to pick up some tangy, grapefruity citric notes, and
finally you get a very nice dash of puckering bitterness in the finish that
lingers on the tongue for quite some time after sipping.
I guess you could say those are the "three" hop dimensions here: bitterness,
citrus flavor, and floral aroma. That's not what the "3" really stands for
(the beer is triple hopped with 3 pounds of hops per barrel).
I like this beer. It could have a little more malt body, but sometimes I
like a beer like this that really lets the hops shine through, and that you
can drink a lot of. It reminds me a lot of
Maelstrom IPA , a similar beer I like a lot for the same reasons.
I would rate the bottled product a four. But when I went to Summits, I got
try it on cask. That way, it’s a five, and I wasn’t the only one to enjoy it
so much. All around the bar, there were oohs and ahhs of approval. The beer
really is spectacular with a little in-vessel conditioning and fermentation,
and the fruit really picked up along the way.
I found the cask version lighter in carbonation but smoother and more
drinkable for it. It had a wonderful layer of Brussels lace descending down
the glass, and so much more fruit: pear, apple, passion fruit. The finish
became very bitter with a grapefruit hop character, and a grassy bitter
lingering character deposited on the tongue. Just a sheer delight.
A five on cask, but a four in the bottle. Since the latter is the more
likely fashion in which you’ll find it, the four prevails.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.