Hops and Bolts IPL — Mad and Noisy Brewing (Creemore Springs)

Fact: there is a lot of blustering going on right now in the craft beer scene in Toronto, about what is, exactly, “craft beer”.  I won’t enter that debate here (though I promise I will elsewhere soon).  There are sort of two sides to this story (there’s actually hundreds, but I’ve got to draw a line somewhere).  On the one side, you have people who say that craft is about what’s in the glass, and little else.  On the other, it’s about who is signing the cheques and selling the beer, regardless of what’s in it.  To lesser extent, some people also consider volume production part of the equation.  The Brewer’s Association in the USA set the definition of craft beer using all three elements: quality, ownership and volume.  Sigh. It’s complicated.  Six Pints Brewing was started and is owned by Molson-Coors.  Their beer is excellent, their volume well under 3 000 000 barrels (the measure set out by BA), but they are wholly owned by a non-craft brewery.  Craft?  Some say yes, others no.  How about Creemore?  Quality product, small volume production (relatively), but again, owned by M-C, though they were originally independent.  Nothing has changed in the beer, since they were bought (unless you ask the “I used to like U2, before they sold-out” types).  So do they lose their craft-card just because of who backs them?  Even more sticky: Mad & Noisy.  If you haven’t heard of Mad & Noisy, let me briefly fill you in: despite how you might feel about their products, most of the people brewing your big-brand beer (and indeed, your “medium” like Creemore, Mill Street, etc) are excellent, passionate brewers.  They are not simply assembly line workers.  And while they take pride in producing a consistent product to spec, they do like to play around, when they can.  Recognizing this, Creemore set up the Mad & Noisy label, which is essentially an experimental brewing program.  If you’ve read me gushing about Iain McOustra or Mike Lackey brewing on their respective pilot systems, this is along the same idea, although the size of their pilot batches are proportionally larger than Amsterdam’s or Great Lakes’.  I would assume if you were in the against camp on Six Pints and Creemore, you will still be for Mad & Noisy, but we’re moving even closer to what is often idealized as “Craft”.  Innovation, quality ingredients, traditional preparation, small volume, etc.  Like I said, it’s sticky. Regardless of what you think of the politics involved, I would strongly suggest you give Hops and Bolts a taste.  Spoiler alert: It’s really good!

Mad & Noisy Hops and Bolts IPL

I know I don’t usually use supplied product shots, but I sort of really liked what I was drinking, and didn’t get my act together to take a photo. I also didn’t have branded glassware, but that’s just a shameless ask for one, as it really was just pure distraction. The beer did look like this; that’s pretty accurate.

I usually would have addressed this “above the fold”, but it got a little cluttered up there with all the drama.  So, Hops and Bolts is an India Pale Lager.  Which is a style that doesn’t really exist, except that now it does.  It’s a reference to the fact that this is a lager, but it shares similarities with IPAs. Big and hoppy, very “American”.  Black IPA is another recent addition to the beer style family.  It’s a bit like dog breeds.  They’re illegitimate right up until the moment they’re not.  If you’re interested in IPLs, there are a few good ones out of the states, and I’m told that Parallel 49th has a great one as well.  Hard to find in Ontario, but likely worth the effort.

From a growler filled at The Beer Academy (SixPints/Molson-Coors), Hops and Bolts pours a slightly hazy, lovely tawny brown; gold at the edges. A generous white head drops from nearly 3″ to a nice dense 1/4″ layer of head that remains through the first half of the glass.  Aroma is enticing, to say the least.  Immediately hoppy, clearly new world.  Citrusy, something tropical, and a wine/vinous hint.  Definitely more hop forward than any other beer I’ve had from Creemore.  Malts are present, and are much more traditional. Biscuits, rye bread, and a touch of caramel.  Taste is quite something, a combination of what I would call “Creemore” and many new-school flavours.  Hops are clearly citrusy now, lemon peel; tropical flavours are lychee fruit, and there’s just a little burst of apricots.  Malts are sweet to be sure, but a lot of the definition is covered by the hops.  I still get some nice biscuity notes, but the hops are forefront.  I also can easily identify a taste, which I noted as “Creemore” in the aroma, but I’m fairly sure is their yeast strain.  I can’t quite nail it down, but there is some fruitiness, as well as a little spice.  I’m nowhere near savvy enough to presume to identify what type it is.  But I know that taste, as clearly as I know Wellington’s yeast and Amsterdam’s (or at least, the main yeast they use.  For batches of Saison, Weisse, etc, they wouldn’t use their ale yeast). I guess when you drink enough of a brewery’s beer, you get to know their personal quirks. Body is medium-light, and a decent carbonation adds some nice action on the tongue.  Finish is hoppy dry; not as much as a big IPA, but a whole lot more than pilsner, or amber lager. It’s quick, like a lager should be, but with way more hops.  An excellent beer, and one that I would happily go out of my way to find and drink.  I am happy to see it being served in bars not usually identified as craft places.  No matter who you are, if you find yourself in an establishment serving it, do give it a try.

Cheers to the crew at Creemore! If this is what we can expect from Mad & Noisy, I’m very excited for the future!

Buy This Beer

Well, mine came from The Beer Academy on Victoria, south of Queen, though I’m not sure if it will be on tap there for long.  I know currently it’s available at a bunch of Jack Astor’s locations. Keep your eyes pealed!

Drink It With

Hmmm, good question.  The hops would definitely hold up to a nice spicy meal, maybe some nice spicy fried Szechuan noodles?  I really shouldn’t write these before dinner…. Man I’m hungry.  On the cheese front, I would look for something big and bold, and let the hops cut through it.  My go-to classic is always Beemster XO, but if you’re near one of Monforte Dairy’s sales tables, perhaps try it with their Toscano, which nearly brings tears to my eyes, it’s so good.

About The Brewery

Mad and Noisy Brewing logoEstablished in 1987, Creemore Springs is one of Ontario’s original craft brewers, taking great pride to make beer the old fashioned way. Brewed in small batches, in an open flame copper kettle with its own local spring water, the finest barley malt, imported noble hops and select yeast. No additives, no preservatives, no pasteurization and no compromises. Just good old-fashioned pure, natural beer – the same tradition that is carried through with our small-batch Mad & Noisy series. Named after the two rivers that merge and flow through the village of Creemore, Mad & Noisy lets Creemore’s beer-loving brewers explore and push the boundaries of traditional craft beer. This limited release, ever-changing series of imaginative, innovative and delicious craft concoctions will have beer enthusiasts’ tastebuds going a little crazy and clamouring for more. For more information visit www.creemoresprings.com.


  1. Rob Price
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Great Article. Read it while I was enjoying the IPL @ the beer academy. Enjoyed them both thoroughly in fact.


  2. Chloe J.
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    You can find it at Moose Winooski’s!

  3. chris
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Chloe! It moves around in availability, so when you see it, get it!

  4. Peter Bunnies
    Posted March 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    The IPL is a tasty brew! Enjoying it right now Toronto. McQueen’s Pub on Queen east!

  5. chris
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Awesome, Peter. Glad you’re enjoying it.

  6. Jean Simard
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Just had a pint at Dougall’s on the Bay Restaurant in Brighton..
    Loved this bitter hoppy brew..
    Hope to see it at a restaurant in Cobourg soon..

  7. Dave
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Sitting in terminal 3 at Pearson, saw a somewhat artistic, craft looking tap head so I had to try it. Quite impressed!
    Boardwalk Cafe has served a good brew!

  8. chris
    Posted May 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Because of it’s parentage, you’ll see Mad and Noisy products in lots of places that might not usually have big hoppy brews, which is good news for everybody. Also, I’ll be talking about it in a post soon, but Creemore has announced the next beer in the Mad and Noisy line, which will be a Saison. I have faith it will be quite lovely!

  9. William
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    They are now available at the Ontario Beer Stores. Started stocking them in June I think. Nice beer.

  10. chris
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Great news, thanks for letting us know, William!

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