Beer Review: Muskoka Detour “Sessionable IPA”

Detour - Muskoka BrewingEditor’s Note: We have a guest beer reviewer today: our good friend Graham. He is a seasoned beer aficionado, and we hope you like his thoughts. 

Detour is a recent addition to Muskoka’s set of regular craft beers, which include the ever popular Cream Ale and Mad Tom IPA; in addition to a wide range of seasonal and one-off specialties.  Muskoka brewery is responsible for introducing me to the world of real IPA’s (apologies to mister Alexander Keith), that pair perfectly with sriracha covered anything.  When I inevitably start sweating, crying and panting because I added too much hot sauce; Mad Tom comes to the rescue with a refreshing and bitter finish.  You see where my wife says “well don’t add so much hot sauce”, or “you’re embarrassing me”; Mad Tom simply understands and asks how can I help with that, and at 6.4% it usually does.  Mad Tom, Twice as Mad Tom, as well as many of the specialty beers produced at Muskoka brewery are in my mind among the best craft beers produced in Ontario.  The problem, as most IPA-lovers learn in one way or the other (or multiple times for slow learners such as myself) is that the enjoyment of IPA’s tend to be self-limiting; and the craft beer world has thus set out on its glorious quest to develop a “sessionable IPA”.  For those new to the world of craft beer, “sessionable” is a fancy way of saying “we’re planning to get drunk”.   Detour, represents Muskoka’s first foray into the sessionable IPA category, and unfortunately like most other attempts the tension between preserving the IPA character while making it sessionable has led to a beer that is less than satisfying on both accounts.

Detour IPA

Detour is an unfiltered pale ale that has a slightly fruity aftertaste, with a hint of pine.  It comes in at a fairly low 4.3% alcohol and like most bitter beers it should not be judged from the first taste.  So after a few drinks I am left wondering who Detour is trying to appeal to.  Detour is in fact quite bitter, not as much as a Mad Tom or other true IPA, but still far more bitter than most in the sessionable category.  For me this leaves Detour in a category all by itself, a sessionable IPA that I wouldn’t want to session.  Detour is a decent beer, and may serve as a good introduction to IPA novices.  But as for me I’ll take Muskoka Cream Ale or Wellington SPA to session with; and a nice strong Mad Tom IPA or Amsterdam Boneshaker IPA to enjoy with a meal.  And from time to time, damn the consequences and I’ll session with Old Mad Tom.


Muskoka Brewery was founded in 1996 in Bracebridge, Ontario.

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