Ladies and gentlemen, meet Canvass, the newest member of Big Ditch Brewing’s Lock IPA family. The fifth beer in the series is named after Canvass White, one of the Erie Canal’s civil engineers. He studied the canal systems of England for the better part of a year, walking over 2,000 miles of their canals, before building our own. He is also credited with inventing a means of waterproofing the canal with the use of a special type of waterproof cement.
Canvass is brewed with El Dorado, Mosaic, and Falconer’s Flight hops, imparting big ripe melon and tangerine aromas and flavors, to go along with a subtle sweetness. 4-packs of 16oz. cans are priced at $14.99 (1 case/pp limit). According to Big Ditch, this first batch is a bit more limited than others.
Big Ditch Owner Matt Kahn admits that Canvass might be the driest Lock entry yet, and adds that if you miss out on the first batch, there are already plans to do a second batch of the beer in the future. “We only did a 20bbl batch of this as we were quite sure what to expect upon scale up of this recipe. So, less than normal…we’re never quite sure if we’ll sell out or not, but it’s always a possibility,” Kahn says.
“Besides the El Dorado / melon thing, this beer is fairly dry on the palate, perhaps the driest Lock IPA we’ve done so far,” Kahn says. “If we do a second batch (and we plan to), it will probably be a little bit fuller which should smooth out the finish. But, the dryness makes this 6.1% ABV IPA very, very drinkable. This beer has big ripe melon and tangerine aromas and flavors, with a subtle sweetness from the hops and a dry finish. We think / hope people will like it!”
As evidenced by the above photo, I was lucky enough to be treated to an advance taste of Canvass. For me personally, this is the best Lock IPA since Fip. It opens with bright white peach and pineapple, followed by notes of peach, citrus, melon and pear. There’s a persistent dryness throughout thia beer that continues from the initial sip to the last drop.
Kahn says that Canvass is the product of some trial-and-error on Big Ditch’s part as they brewed several different variations of the beer with different recipes. “One had Rye in it, one was 7.5% ABV, one used Huell Melon,” he says.
“We’ve been working on this one a long time. We wanted to make El Dorado the focus of one of these beers and tried several different versions. Ultimately, we used it as a highlight hop with a Mosaic focus and some Falconer’s, which when used in the kettle yields some nice melon flavor, which is what this beer has.”
As for what’s next in the Lock Series, Kahn readily admits that the next entry will be something of a departure from the beers we’ve had drank and loved (you remember the names – Packet, Fip, 363, Dibble). “It might be a Double IPA, it might be a milkshake, or it might have fruit in it. We’re just starting to kick around ideas now,” he says.
In addition to Canvass, Big Ditch will also have fresh Deep Cut Double IPA cans on sale (4-packs of 16oz. cans are $14.99). Also, if you happened to miss out, limited bottles of Pinot Noir Barrel Aged and Gin Barrel Aged Beautiful River Farmhouse Saison are also available in the taproom.
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Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.