The Kernel: India Pale Ale: Columbus (England: IPA: 7.4%)

Visual: Clear peach and amber. An inch of nigh white solid head that has a slight crushed lemon skin colour dusted over it.   Moderate bubbles on the body.

Nose:  Very fresh lime and crisp prickly hops. Apricot. Fine ground flour. Tart pineapple juice or maybe a touch of grapefruit. All backed up by a nasal kick of mild crushed chilli seeds.

Body: Very tart. Pineapple and pear. An odd flavour that could possibly be compared to gherkins.  Passion fruit and dry wheat hops. Solid bitter and malt back. Touch of sweet peach to contrast.

Finish: Gherkins again and solid bitterness. Gooseberries. Slow building hops and greenery. Dry bread styling.

Conclusion: Now this one is deeply unusual. I have got used to what to expect from an IPA, and even what to expect of the different styles within. Then I get a wild outlier like this which comes as a bit of a shock to the system.

It has the citrus freshness and hops, that is not so unusual I hear you say.   Well true, but add in a light chilli like tingle, tartness and an almost gherkin like flavour to the middle and the whole beer has gone a touch topsy turvy.

It’s a jittering IPA, prickly like cactus and bringing it’s hops along with it.  While it isn’t something to have everyday, the slow prickle, greenery and bitterness in the finish gives it a distinct presence that matches the body well. Beyond that the roaming chilli like touches hang around at the back of the throat and don’t let you forget the beer for a while.

To contrast there is just enough subtle sweet fruit in an attempt to offset the off main body, and it does the job of that well enough.  Overall a well made oddity.  Well enough off the beaten track to give a good kick upside the expectations, but not well suited for regular drinking

Background: The Kernel is London based Brewery which seems to be getting some buzz about it recently so I had to check it out.  With it being a London based brewery of course the most natural place to get its beer from was a bottle shop several hundred miles away in York. So that is what I did. Columbus seems to turn up a lot in combination, but I think this is the first time I have run into the hop on its own.