Sometimes it occurs to me that there’s been a drink I’ve been recommending for years, consume regularly, am always thrilled to find on a menu (you remember, when you could order things in bars) but haven’t officially sung its praises on Sublime Imbibing. Octopus Wants to Fight IPA from Great Lakes Brewery is just such a beer, and with a relatively recent art-update I couldn’t think of a better time to do so.

For fans of the Ontario beer scene this review is going to seem a bit like someone being like “Yo have you seen the Godfather? Pretty good film!” It’s a pretty obviously good beer, and with it’s slick branding and fun name, it’s a frequent choice for the craft-curious crowd. But it’s just too good not to plug, and catch any poor soul who hasn’t been drinking Octopus Wants to Fight for years now.

Here’s what you can expect:

Octopus Wants to Fight IPA Review

One of my favourite things about Octopus Wants to Fight is how well it straddles the old and new worlds of IPAs. Back at the beginning of Canadian craft, you’d get blown away by bitterness and pounded by pine. I loved it — Flying Monkey’s Smashbomb  was and remains a fave of mine. Then came the juicy IPAs like those Bellwoods Brewery so excels at, more reminiscent of tropical fruit and less bitter. GLB has succeeded in creating a beer that strokes the pleasure centers of both fan groups. Also shout out to Collective Arts for their Ransack the Universe for similar refinement.

Octopus Wants to Fight pours a lovely hazy gold, with a relatively dense head that is wont to stick around for as long as you’ll let it. It smells just goddamn gorgeous, with ripe mango and a kiss of piney-woodiness on the nose. There’s also a little bit of some other evergreen — I almost want to say juniper. Either way it’s something you can dip your beak into with pleasure.

The taste is just as good. At 6.2% ABV and 88 IBU, this beer promises to pack a punch (or eight). But instead of an assault, you’re treated to a refined mid-tier bitterness, a lovely full-body, and a flavour profile with some nice malty undertones, tropical fruit and the aforementioned evergreens, all playing nice together in the sandbox. It finishes remarkably clean and refreshing, and makes it dangerously easy to crush three or more in a session.


This is my overdue ode to the Octopus. I tip my hat to the folks at GLB who have continued to delight me with one of Toronto’s best IPAs.


Final Verdict

Octopus Wants to Fight was and remains a go to IPA for me. It's well worth sipping slow.