Mike Duggan is a perfect embodiment of the spirit of adventure and bravery that appeals to craft beer fans. A veteran of the industry he has founded 3 breweries Mill Street and Duggan's Brewery (twice!). His self titled Duggan's brewery is a story in itself, after leaving Mill St, Duggan opened his own brewpub in a cavernous old building on Church street in downtown Toronto, where I first tried No. 9 and chatted with Duggan. Unfortunately the first brewpub didn't work out and it closed in 2011. Undeterred, Duggan borrowed brewery space to keep making No 9 until he re-opened Duggan's brewery on Queen Street west, in the Parkdale neighbourhood where he has had more success. When I tried No. 9 in 2010 on Victoria street I really liked it, so when I was in my local LCBO I decided to pick a couple up to see if it is still as good as I remember it, fortunately it is!
Number 9 pours a nice amber colour, and it has a nice hoppy nose to it so the start is promising. From there it smooths out into a malty smooth middle that is almost creamy in feel. This middle is not complicated, but it goes down easy and avoids a lot of the wateriness that some less finely tuned IPA's can suffer from, unfortunately I still found that middle to be a bit bland, but it is not too bad. The finish brings back the hop bouquet quite nicely, although it may be a bit grapefruity for some. It's not perfect, but I like it, the sip is a journey, much more than most beers are, so you sorta get the malt and the hops in different stages. Duggan does a good job of keeping the hops under control but still adding the strength and depth that appeals to IPA fans. It may not be a mass-market IPA but this should appeal to most IPA fans apart from the Uber-hop afficianados. The slightly bland middle does let it down a bit, but this is still a tasty brew and one I will be happy to try again.
It's available across Ontario in the LCBO as well as at their Queen St. West brewpub and on tap at a variety of bars and restaurants in Ontario
Rating. 3.5 steins
What you need to know
1346 Queen St W
Toronto ON, M6K 1L4